Youngsters are being trained on football in Ukhrul district Credit: EastMojo image

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Ukhrul: The winter season has camped firmly in the Ukhrul district of Manipur. But the cold winds and dusty grounds have not deterred the youth from playing their favourite sport, Football. This commitment to the game explains why this hill district has produced so many professional footballers.

In yet another initiative aimed at identifying talented young footballers, Meiphung Production, a Tangkhul film production company, has launched a ‘Youth Football Coaching for Free’ under Meiphung Foundation as its first programme.

The programme aims to promote those talents who were unable to pursue a career in football due to financial constraint and lack of facilities and give them access to play at a professional level.

According to the organisers, each batch will have six selected young talents and will be trained for three months under a professional coach Kuivao Ruivah, a former Hindustan FC player.

“After training, we will send them for trials to professional clubs. Right now, we are in a process to talking to few acclaimed clubs for tie-ups,” said Meiphung Production COO Seema KS Awungshi.

Over the past few years, the hill district has seen a new football revolution with young ones not only passionate about football but also making a career out of it. Initially, parents were not as interested in supporting their kids into sports, but things have changed now.

The project is being initiated by Meiphung Production in Ukhrul district

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Former Hindustan FC player Kuivao Ruivah trains the young talents

Hormipam Ruivah and Yami Longvah, playing for former I-League winner Punjab FC, and Wungngayam Muirang playing for Gokulam Kerala are just a few from the hill district who have made it to the top from Ukhrul district.

Despite the absence of a lush green carpet-like surface and proper facilities, these young boys are striving hard and refining their footballing skills. To encourage them, the organisers are also providing free kits, including football, jersey and shorts, football boots, among others.

“All of them are fresh and since they have not played or participated in any local clubs, I am training them the basics of the football like ball control and tripling, and later on, we will upgrade our training techniques,” said coach Ruivah.

According to the organisers, the public has a positive response to the project and gives hope to families for a better future.

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