Nike today kicked off this year’s edition of the Nike Premier Cup. Held in association with the All India Football Association (AIFF), this U-16 football tournament is organized with the aim of helping young athletes become better footballers. The tournament provides a stage to compete against the best in their age group while also serving as a scouting platform to identify talented young footballers in the country.

In the second year of this tournament, fifty five teams across the country competed to earn one of the spots at this year’s Nike Premier Cup. The 16 best teams will compete in the tournament that is being held in Goa and Mumbai between January 30th and February 10th, 2017.

“There is a lot of young football talent in our country”, said Baichung Bhutia, Chairman of AIFF Technical Committee and Former Indian football captain. “These young footballers need a platform not just to showcase their talent but also to understand the technical aspects of the game and gain exposure. Nike Premier Cup is one such platform that helps young footballers to make the most out of the opportunity provided to them.”

The teams have been divided into four groups. The group matches in Goa will kick-start from January 30th and go on till February 05th. The group matches in Mumbai will be held from January 31st to February 06th. The semi-finals will be held on February 08th in Mumbai.

Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF said, “As the popularity for football continues to grow in our country, Nike Premier Cup serves as an initiative to build the sport at the grass root. Last year at the Nike Premier Cup, the scouting team were able to identify strong talent who are now probable’s for the upcoming marquee tournament at home. The Nike Premier Cup will truly help give these young athletes an opportunity to grow as footballers by playing against the best in their age group.”

The finals of Nike Premier Cup, 2017 will be held on February 10th at Cooperage stadium in Mumbai where the two best teams in the tournament will compete for the Nike Premier Cup trophy.