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Joydeep Mukherjee, the man behind IFA’s exponential growth in just one year

The IFA General Secretary has already added a feather to his cap within just one year of assuming the office…

The Indian Football Association (IFA), the football governing body in West Bengal has topped the rankings of All India Football Federation’s Performance Assessment for the 2019-20 season.

Joydeep Mukherjee, who took charge of the IFA as its General Secretary just an year ago, has done an exemplary job in uplifting the reputation of the state association.

When Mukherjee took charge, IFA was struggling on all fronts, especially financially as they were under huge debts.

After taking charge in July 2019, Mukherjee had said, “For the position, the IFA is in today, it has dug its own hole through the years. I have been given this responsibility now and I hope to have the support of everyone to be successful. If I cannot be successful, I will move away from this post myself.

“There are outstanding debts of the IFA and we will try to bring in sponsors and pay those off. But, at the same time, we have to improve the quality and quantity of football under our wing. I believe nothing is impossible.”

Joydeep Mukherjee, IFA

The General Secretary indeed kept all the promises he made after getting elected to the office and has delivered within just a year. He mentioned that being part of the IFA earlier helped him identify the areas that needed immediate attention.

“This is teamwork. It is not possible for only the secretary to function. It is collective hard work where I am just a part of it. I have been associated with sports for a very long time and I was also the assistant secretary of the IFA four years back. So I knew the loopholes that existed within the organisation. So when I took charge it wasn’t very difficult to make the changes,” he told Goal.

Mukherjee mentioned that without AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das’ support, IFA would not have been able to top the assessment rankings. He expressed his gratitude towards the Indian FA for awarding West Bengal with multiple national-level tournaments last season which helped the state body attract multiple sponsors.

“I am thankful to every single individual at AIFF but I have to especially thank Kushal Das for his continuous support and encouragement for Bengal football. When I took charge, we hardly had any sponsors but thanks to the multiple tournaments which were awarded to the state, we managed to attract sponsors and money and it would not have been possible without Kushal Das’ support,” said Mukherjee.

West Bengal Santosh Trophy 2017 Champions

The IFA Secretary also shared the organisation’s vast range of plans for the future in which Development of youth and Women’s football is at the top of the priority list.

“We are working on youth development, promoting and organising the baby leagues and promotion of Women’s football,” Mukherjee told Goal .

“From the next season, we will segregate all our divisions on the basis of age groups. The Nursery ‘A’ and ‘B’ divisions will be U-13 and U-15 respectively. Above the nursery league is the Fifth Division ‘B’ and ‘A’ leagues which will be U-16 and U-17 respectively. Then the fourth division will be a U-18 competition followed by the third division which will be U-19 and the Second Division U-20. Our plan was to implement this from this season onwards but due to the pandemic it got postponed but from next season these rules will surely be implemented,” said the administrator.

The IFA has planned to start a residential academy for U-17 women footballers in the outskirts of Kolkata which will help to strengthen the future of West Bengal Women’s football team.

“We are also focusing on Women’s football. We are planning to start a residential academy with all facilities for U-17 footballers from Bengal. We will do an extensive scouting and the selected 30 candidates will be kept in the academy.”

Mukherjee also revealed that they are extensively working on coaches and referees education. He said, “We did most number of coaching licenses last year. We are trying to do it on a monthly basis. For that, we have appointed specialised people who make all the arrangements.

“We are also planning to conduct a free crash course of English learning for the coach’s so that they don’t face language barriers in future.”

Mukherjee is not just focusing on coaches education but also wants to improve the standards of refereeing. IFA has already started an academy for this purpose.

“IFA has already started a referee’s academy in collaboration with the Calcutta Referee’s Association (CRA) were 80 candidates had applied and 26 have been shortlisted. Out of the 26 candidates, 20 are men and six are women. When we discussed about Women’s football I made it a point that all women’s matches should have women match officials and women physiotherapists.”

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