Monday, June 5, 2023

Apollo Tyres and Manchester United conclude the third season of United We Play with record participation; 4 talented from India kids declared winners

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Leading tyre maker Apollo Tyres today announced the culmination of the third season of United We Play, the on-ground grassroots football competition, in association with Manchester United, at a grand finale in Mumbai. The third season of the initiative was the biggest ever with participation of more than 6600 budding footballers from India. The initiative also travelled outside India for the first time to countries such as Thailand, Nepal and UAE where more than 1000 kids took part in the trials.

At the grand finale in Mumbai in the presence of Manchester United legend and one of the all-time greats Denis Irwin, it was the exceptional abilities of four young footballers – Freddy Jyrwa from Meghalaya, Manipur’s Thangminlun Touthang, Aaryav Da Costa from Goa and Mumbai’s Niall Goghavala – that caught the eye of the judges and coaches.

United We Play is a pan-India initiative by Apollo Tyres and Manchester United to support young footballers in India by giving them a platform to showcase their skills with the objective of motivating aspiring footballers to continue playing, by engaging with them, and introducing them to global training methodologies. The third edition of United We Play programme was launched in Goa earlier in the presence of Manchester United’s first team players David De Gea, Anthony Elanga and Donny van de Beek.

Speaking at the finale, Denis Irwin, Manchester United Ambassador said, “I am thrilled to be a part of United We Play and witness the programme’s growth and success year after year. Grassroots football is the foundation of any footballing nation, and initiatives like United We Play provide a platform for young talent to thrive. We look forward to welcoming the selected footballers to Old Trafford and hope to inspire and motivate them to continue chasing their vision.”

Vikram Garga, Group Head, Marketing, Apollo Tyres Ltd said, “We are delighted to have concluded the third season of United We Play with such a record-breaking participation. This year’s programme took us to four countries and saw some exceptional talent on display. We are proud to be providing these young footballers with a platform to showcase their skills and take their first step towards fulfilling their footballing dreams.”

The four shortlisted players are being given a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Old Trafford to participate in exciting activities like a matchday experience, training session with Manchester United Soccer School coaches, and legend interactions. In addition to the four players from India, one young footballer each from Thailand, Nepal and UAE have also been identified for the exposure tour to Old Trafford.

The third season of United We Play was conducted across 5 broad phases comprising of workshops and masterclasses and an on-ground leg in 12 cities across 4 countries in three phases, reaching out to more than 8500 aspiring players. This year’s edition of United We Play was the largest thus far and saw young footballers from across the four countries participate in various activities, including skill sessions, mini-tournaments, and coach interactions.

The Winners:

• Freddy Jyrwa (Meghalaya): 17-year old Freddy Jyrwa’s footballing dreams have been fuelled by his mother, who works as a labourer and has raised him on her own since Freddy’s father passed away few years back. The boy from Shillong, Meghalaya is a Class X student and considers Brazilian superstar Neymar as his favourite player.

• Thangminlun Touthang (Manipur): Currently training at the Minerva Academy, the 17-year-old Thangminlun plays as an attacking midfielder. Originally from the football crazy state of Manipur, Thangminlun considers Argentina’s Lionel Messi as his footballing hero and his dream is to follow in the footsteps of his idol.

• Aaryav Da Costa (Goa): Studying at The King’s School in Goa, young Aaryav Da Costa is a child prodigy on the football pitch. The 12-year-old, Class 6 student plays on the left wing and idolises Lionel Messi. Aaryav’s father is a professor while his mother is a teacher.

• Niall Goghavala (Mumbai): A local boy from Mumbai where the finals of United We Play third season was held, the talented Niall Goghavala plays as a striker. The 13-year-old considers Norwegian striker Erling Haaland as his favourite player.

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