Shillong, Jun 14: The second phase of pan-North East football trials for Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools will begin at the Assam Rifles Public School, Laitkor, here today.

The first round of trials, comprising 2,000 youngsters in the 11 to 18 age bracket, began over two months ago. These have been whittled down to 105 for the final trials, which will begin on Tuesday at BBFS partner school, ARPS.

“This season has been a season of firsts for us in the North East. We launched our first residential academy with the iconic Assam Rifles Public School in Shillong. And for the first time, we engaged with 2,000 footballers for scouting. This is a remarkable feat and I think this is one of the largest scouting programmes in this region,” BBFS technical director Sunil Patwal said.

The selection round is happening for the residential scholarship programme. The footballers will receive partial or complete scholarships for their education, training, food, lodging and healthcare expenses. The athletes will stay in one of the five BBFS Residential Academies and will be trained for state, national and international tournaments. Alongside guidance in football, students will continue their academics with top ICSE/CBSE affiliated in-house schools.

“I’m happy to see the focus on finding talent from the North Eastern states. The North East is a football hotbed and we can find quality players from the region. Through our trial programmes, we will reach out to maximum footballers and provide them with an ideal platform to become a professional footballer,” Bhaichung Bhutia, co-founder of BBFS, said.

Apart from ARPS, the other BBFS residential academies are in Delhi, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

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