A Catholic missionary school, St. Francis de Sales (SFS) Higher Secondary School in Medziphema, within Chumoukedima district of Nagaland, has been nominated for the Best School-AIFF Grassroots award 2023-24.


St. Francis de Sales (SFS) Higher Secondary School in Medziphema

The school received the nomination letter signed by the Acting Secretary of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), General Satyanarayan Muthyalu, today.

“It is a privilege. We feel fortunate and blessed. Though it is just the beginning, we feel it will be an encouragement not just for the school but also for the whole state, especially for the football fraternity,” Ciu Zashümo, the Sports In-charge of the school and a licensed football coach told Mokokchung Times.

Zashümo highlighted the school’s holistic approach to education, where sports feature prominently among its array of co-curricular activities. Speaking to Mokokchung Times, Zashümo praised the unwavering support of the school’s principal, Father Benjamin, in nurturing the talents of their students.

“Father Benjamin is always encouraging children to develop their own skills and focuses a lot on activity-based learning. I also think we are one of the first schools in Nagaland to have our own football league. Last year, we just had the 3rd edition of our own football league,” shared Zashümo.

The league, organized across three divisions – girls, juniors, and seniors – witnessed an impressive participation of 200-300 students annually. Zashümo elucidated the school’s grassroots philosophy, underscoring its significant role in propelling the state forward.

“Our target is to develop the grassroots. If the grassroots are developed, the state will go much further ahead. That is what I, as a coach, believe in,” said Zashümo.

SFS boasts a commendable track record, producing players who can represent in major tournaments like the Subroto Cup and have also brought laurels in Badminton as well.

“The school has so far produced 5-6 Subroto players for U-17 and U-14. In 2022, we had three Subroto players, and last year, in 2023, we produced two,” Zashümo said.

Reflecting on the school’s football activities, Zashümo detailed that he starts his coaching after school, which usually ends at 2 pm.

“I usually have my classes from 3:30-5:00 pm,” he said, adding that among the 200-300 children who participate, some join just for the love of the game, while others join in the hope of making a career from football.

“We identify those who wish to make a career in football and help them represent the school in different tournaments. The school will be playing in the Patkai Cup too,” he said.

Offering insights into the nominating process, Zashümo recounted the school’s participation in the AIFF Grassroots Day 2023, held in collaboration with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Over 150 students from their school, aged between 6 and 12, partook in the event, registering as grassroots players in the Central Registration System (CRS).

“We registered them in the AIFF as grassroots players in the Central Registration System (CRS) and updated the AIFF about our activities and sent them our reports through the mail,” explained Zashümo.

St. Francis de Sales School is a Catholic School conducted by the missionaries of St. Francis De Sales. It was established in the year 1979. It runs classes from Nursery to Class XII and was recognized by the Nagaland Board of School Education since 1984.

Mokokchung Times

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