Football, the most widely played sport in the world, somehow lags in popularity in our country. Although India has its share of positives and also boasts of a few football crazy regions like Kolkata and Goa, a lot remains to be done in popularizing the sport.
This does not mean there is a dearth of Manchester United followers though. It is common to see pubs and bars filled to the brim on the days of big matches. Even on the fields, one can increasingly get a glimpse of a football game in between cricket games. Although the number might look small, India’s size compensates that. Even a tiny fraction of India can be huge. Engineers Pranesh K and Rohit Narayan also believe so.
Along with Rahul Rane, the Pune-based trio have set out to create a networking portal, The Football Mind, for football enthusiasts. Talking about the scope, Pranesh says, “Football is definitely on the rise in India. There are plenty of football associations operating in major districts. Each association is in charge of various clubs in the location which can range from 10 clubs in smaller districts to over 300 clubs in bigger districts. Presently, The Football Mind has more than 200 academies and 600 clubs onboard in Maharashtra.
Ardent followers of the sport, the founders wanted to introduce the audience with a professional networking platform with an intention of spurring engagement in football in India. Every football entity in India, including players, coaches, fans, clubs, academies and associations can create their unique web page on this site. “Special features are available to each entity for networking, communication, monitoring, showcasing skills, planning football tournaments, events, and increasing their local fan base,” says Rohit.
With The Football Mind playing the role of a communication portal, the aim is to allow people to easily monitor the activities being carried out by the various district football associations as well as their associated clubs/institutions, players and coaches. From news updates to events, people will be more aware of the local football scene through this initiative. TFM has an active follower base on social media and have also partnered with the official Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC supporter groups in India.
It is still very early days for the startup but the fact that it has been able to involve legal bodies and academies is a positive. Efforts have been made to create community portals around Cricket in India but nothing has flown off to become mainstream yet. The likes of Chauka and Playerify fall under the domain. Building a consumer web company around sports in India still might be a bit early but if the companies can hang in for some more time and demonstrate adoption, it can usher in a new wave of technology being employed at sporting events.
For the Football Mind, the idea is great- a platform which helps amateur footballers and fans interact with legal bodies and football clubs in a professional way is definitely something that should exist. Players from the grassroots level will have a platform to showcase their talents to club officials, coaches, scouts as well as fans alike. But the bigger questions for start-ups in the area are- are these grassroot players savvy enough to discover the platform and is there a wide enough audience willing to adopt to a niche sporting networking platform? Let the second half begin!
Website: The Football Mind