Sports news: The All India Football Federation’s decision to host the first-ever Men’s National Beach Soccer Championships at Dumas Beach, Surat, in January-February early this year has proved to be a game-changer for the sport in the country.
Beach Soccer, which remained a fringe sport in India all these years even though FIFA has hosted 11 editions of the Beach Soccer World Cup so far, is now a part of the National Games in Goa beginning October 26. The top seven teams from the Men’s National Beach Soccer Championships and hosts Goa, will fight for the title at Goa’s picturesque Colva Beach, with the final on November 1.
Bruno Coutinho, the former India football team captain and Arjuna awardee, has been closely associated with beach soccer ever since he decided to hang up his boots. His skills in this five-a-side game played barefoot on the sand are well known; in 2007, Bruno was the India coach in the pre-World Cup. He is now the coach of the hosts Goa team in the National Games. A star footballer during his playing days, Bruno is pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of beach soccer in the National games.
“I was really surprised to see that beach soccer has been included in the National Games for the first time. Previously, it was just normal football, but now they have not only included beach soccer, but beach handball as well, so it will be interesting,” said Bruno.