The world's largest youth football tournament, Gothia Cup, is set to feature teams from India's SKF Sports Academy, based in Pune and Ahmedabad. The academy is sending a 17-member boys team, as well as a 16-member girls' contingent this year, with the latter set to make its debut as a team. Formed in 2005, SKF Sports Academy has been providing training to underprivileged kids in various sports in the two cities. The two teams for Gothia Cup have been selected from a pool from players belonging to the age group of 11-14 years.
What is the Gothia Cup?
The Gothia Cup is an annual youth football tournament held in Gothenburg, Sweden. Because of the number of participants in every edition, it is considered to be the biggest youth football event in the world. In 2011, a staggering 1567 teams from 72 countries participated in the competition. Some of the famous names to have participated in Gothia Cup include Andrea Pirlo, Xabi Alonso, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Alan Shearer.
SKF Sports Academy
Set up by SKF India in 2005 along with Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation in Pune, the academy was extended to Ahmedabad two years back. It focuses on providing underprivileged children the opportunities for both physical and mental growth and development through sports activities. It has a partnership with I-League club Pune FC, and is also supported by the Kahaani Sports Academy in Ahmedabad.