Posted on December 05, 2019

The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC)’s Generation Amazing programme has inaugurated two new football pitches in India this month, marking further milestones for the human and social legacy programme as the 30th pitch was inaugurated.

The newly opened facilities for youth are located in Colaba Causeway, Mumbai and the Dr. Ambedkar School in Kamptee, Nagpur, with the purpose of creating a safe space in which the GA football for development programmes can operate locally for young girls and boys. At the pitch launch ceremonies held at the Sabina Chandrashekar Memorial Municipal Garden and Playground in Mumbai, and the Khatija Bai School in Nagpur, officials gathered alongside Generation Amazing programme participants and members of the community.

H.E. Saif Bin Ali Al Mohannadi, the Qatari General Counsel in Mumbai, attended the Mumbai pitch opening and praised the programme’s efforts in India as well as its achievement of positively impacting 500,000 people across Asia and the Middle East, saying: “It has been fantastic to witness the pitch from the start of construction all the way to completion here in Mumbai, I am proud and excited to see first-hand the invaluable work that Generation Amazing is doing to leave a lasting legacy for Qatar 2022 across the entire continent. Since Xavi Hernandez came here in March to inaugurate pitch construction, I have been following the local community and the many young people that the programme is reaching through football for development to give them better opportunities for their future.”

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On hand to inaugurate the pitches was Generation Amazing’s Communications and Marketing Director Moza Al Mohannadi, who spoke about Generation Amazing’s long-term plans to provide youth with hubs to learn and develop through football: “We are proud that this pitch is a real tangible legacy of Qatar 2022 right here in India, and we are looking forward to helping to change and improve the lives of many more young people until 2022, and beyond.”  

Al Mohannadi went on to reflect on Generation Amazing’s successful partnership with OSCAR Foundation and streetfootballworld in developing the pitch in Mumbai, before sharing some heartfelt words and messages of encouragement with young participants: “You the youth are the most important part of our Generation Amazing programme, and we believe and trust that this new pitch, and the programmes delivered on it, will be a vital part of you becoming leaders and game-changers for your community.”

One of those who was visibly moved at the launch of the pitch was 22-year-old Generation Amazing Ambassador Shraddha Aher, who was also appointed MC for the kick-off ceremony in Mumbai, welcoming guests in a Guard of Honour-style reception with drumming and music to begin the celebrations. Shraddha, who has been invited to participate in the 2019 Generation Amazing Festival in Doha starting from December 15 with fellow GA Ambassador Baburav Modhale, also works with Mumbai-based non-government football organisation OSCAR Foundation which has been integral in helping extend the Generation Amazing programme to under-privileged communities in India.

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At the Mumbai ceremony, young beneficiaries Poonam Gautam and Umesh Rathod spoke about their experiences as Generation Amazing participants, with 19-year-old female footballer Poonam expressing how the programme has given her community a greater sense of rights for girls in football. Umesh, 15, has also come a long way with the programme, first receiving a special visit from his Generation Amazing Ambassador Xavi Hernández during the inauguration of the construction of the Mumbai pitch earlier this year, and was present as the pitch was completed. “Barcelona legend Xavi Hernández visited my house. He was very loving and kind with me. In our community we don’t have enough space to play football, we find it difficult to play football in our community. We are thankful to Generation Amazing that they have given us this turf to play. I cannot wait to go in and play football.”

For the school pitch opening in Nagpur, Generation Amazing partnered with local football for development programme Slum Soccer. The ceremony was attended by 300 school students as well as the founder of Slum Soccer Dr. Vijay Barse. Generation Amazing Youth Ambassador Shubham Patil shared with his local community at the pitch opening his experience of speaking about his own football journey at the recent WISE Summit 2019 in Doha. As an active football for development coach, Shubham highlighted the impact the pitch will make, saying: “The value of this pitch on the young people here will play an important part of their lives, as football has for mine.”

In December the Generation Amazing programme launches its first-ever festival held in Doha at the Qatar Foundation Oxygen Park from the 15 to 19 December 2019, with GA’s India-based Youth Ambassadors present for the event. The programme has had an eventful month in the lead up to the pitch openings, having participated in football for development trainings for children, talks and panels during Doha Learning Days and the WISE Summit 2019. During the Gulf Cup in Qatar, the programme also organised football for development activities and engagements for kids and child mascot appearances for local and regional school children.