Margao, Jan 16 (UNI) Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Priya ranjan Dasmunsi, who is also the president of All India Football Federation (AIFF), today kicked off the Nike-Manchester United Premier Cup (MUPC) U-15 India final round 2008 at Nehru Stadium in Fatorda in south Goa.
After announcing the final round open, Mr Dasmunshi said, ''Our partnership with Nike has resulted in fueling a passion for the sport amongst the immense pool of young talent in the country. Such events help to elevate the game at the grassroot level and take it to the highest standards.'' ''This was only a three-year contract, the AIFF will urge Nike to extend it to a longer period for the development of the game,'' Mr Dasmunshi added.
The Nike-MUPC tournament, in its third year, saw the participation of over fifty U-15 football teams from across the country making the tournament extremely competitive. Eight teams have now reached the India final round, which will begin at Duler Football Stadium in Goa from January 17 to 20.
In the India final round, the eight teams are divided into two groups, with the first group consisting of Salgaocar, Cosemos Football Academy, SSA Football Academy Mizoram and St Joseph Football Academy. The second group consists of East Bengal FC, SBHS Football Academy, Mahindra United Football Club and Sporting Club De Goa.
The winners of the India final round will be flown to South-East Asia to participate in the South-East Asian regional finals to be held in May at Kaula Lumpur in Malaysia.
The Nike India Marketing Director said, ''The Nike-MUPC tournament is a testimony to our commitment towards elevating the football in the country. We are encouraged by the growing participation in this tournament each year and are committed to make this tournament a truly enriching experience for the young footballer.'' Later in the exhibition match played at Nehru Stadium, Mahindra United defeated East Bengal by 4-2.
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