Ali aims to nurture next generation of elite footballers

Rivaz Ali, back left, and children with their coaches during the International Youth Football Academy clinic at Bidesi Grounds in Suva last week. Picture: RAMA

For International Youth Football Academy director Rivaz Ali, nurturing and developing players at a young age will be key to producing the next generation of elite Fiji footballers.

Based in Suva and working with children from age 15 and below, Ali said it had always been a drive to shape a brighter future for Fiji football and generally football lovers.

The program has been running for the past four years. “I believe if we can target and work with kids at a young age, they will grow up and be better players and understand the game on a greater level,” Ali said.

Working with aspiring footballers, the academy has grown tremendously with nearly 150 young players joining the program with what started with only seven kids in its initially year.

“We help instil a sense of discipline and develop their skills and help remove bad habits so they enjoy working towards their dreams.

“We have kids from 13 different countries and the academy travel the country to test the best of our athletes against some of the best young players in respective districts.”

The academy hosts four separate programs of mixed gender including a toddlers program for children between the age of 13 months to three years old, the IYFA junior program for children between yesr four and eight and the IYFA prospects under-12 and U15 teams.

IYFA training is held every day with weekday sessions from 4.30pm to 6pm and weekend sessions from 10am to 11.30am at Bidesi Grounds in Suva.

A standalone initiative, Ali said he was thankful to his sponsors who aided in helping his young players’ dreams come true.

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