The first half of the session kicked off with an introduction by host Sonali Chander wherein the moderator, Stanislaus D'Souza introduced the panelists - Dr. Robin Petersen, Rajeev Piramal, Jovito Lopes and Sioulas Anastasios for the session. Mr. Petersen, CEO of South African Football Development Agency & Ex-CEO South African Football Association gave a brief introduction and background to the South African football scenario.
"Football has an incredible power to unite countries and to achieve success in football, funds had to be created along with business, government and football partners. This success would change the nation forever," Peterson said.
He shared the technical master plan of South Africa 2022 in which he said it would create a virtuous cycle of success and would unite the nation for national pride.
Rajeev Piramal, Owner of Pune FC and also the Vice-Chairman and MD of Peninsula Land Ltd., in his opening statement said, "There is lot to learn from the SAFA but at the end of the day, they are our competitors." He also stressed on the development of infrastructure justifying that infrastructure does not only mean good grounds and good facilities but also good coaches and good medical facilities.
Sioulas Anastasios, coach of Sesa Football Academy, stressed on the need for the development at the base level; while the Sports Editor of the Herald newspaper, Jovito Lopes stated that one of the reason for failure of football grabbing most eyeballs is the large fan loyalty to the international clubs rather than Indian clubs. He also said that not only the government support, but also Private Public Partnership (PPP) would help in the development of Football in India.
Thereafter Scott O'Donell (AIFF National Academies Technical Director) in his presentation, stressed on the development of football at the grassroot level. With context to this, he said that "This should have started 20 years back." He also proposed the Grassroot development plan for football in India.
Then the Goan Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in his brief address spoke about football in a nutshell. With a sporty spirit he said, "Football gets you through life besides work."
Dr. Rufino Monteiro, Chairman of the Goa Football Development Council, expressed his gratitude towards the Honorable Chief Minister for his dedication and commitment in making football the official sport of the state, not just in words but also in action. "Football is not a fashion statement but it's about passionate dedication towards the sport," he said.
He further said that "Goa's aim is to produce good players and that GFDC is working towards it. Studies done in Indian cities reveal that football now attracts three times as many viewers as cricket, more so because today's youth want a fast, exciting game and 90 minutes of football ideally fits into their hectic lifestyle. A Nielsen survey in 2010 found that 47% of India's over 1.2 billion population described themselves as football fans. Interestingly, football also attracts the second highest sports sponsorship in India, out-ranking tennis, badminton, boxing, wrestling and athletics where India boasts of world class athletes, some even champions. There is so much to do to develop football in India."
The session ended with the launch of the Draft Goa Football Policy and the GFDC publication, which many hope will take Goan and Indian football onto the next level.
More in part two about the second day of the inaugural Goa International Football Table.