Youth football and grassroots development play a vital role in developing local talent and bringing more people into the football community. Recognising the importance of the aforementioned in realising the potential of football in the state, the Karnataka State Football Association (KSFA) decided to conduct U8, U10, U12, U14, and U17 tournaments along with a women’s tournament from January-March 2021, immediately after the first wave of the COVID-19.
The main aim of the tournament was to provide much-needed game time for the players, as there were very few sporting activities since the start of the pandemic in early 2020.
Organising a tournament of such a scale amidst the pandemic was a considerable challenge in itself, but KSFA’s professionalism and organisational efficiency enabled smooth conduction of the event. There were, however, a few other critical areas in which KSFA required solutions from an industry specialist, which were:
Promotion of the tournament and widening the community outreach of the game
Creating digital assets like match videos, data (player and match), etc.
Statistical analysis of the data to enhance the talent identification process
All of the biggest footballing superpowers globally have introduced advanced technologies into their grassroots as well as youth systems and have reaped the benefits. Here in India, however, we are yet to leverage these advancements into the betterment of our youth system and even in certain aspects of the professional level.
We at SportsKPI, – is an organisation which strives to improve the performance of sports teams through end-to-end solutions using Technology, Math and the Knowledge of the Sport.
What we were able to provide for KSFA:
A total of 105 matches were recorded and then analysed to retrieve the stats for each player (700 players in total) in the U15 and U17 categories. These stats were then further processed to assist in deciding the individual awards like the best player, forward, midfielder, defender, and goalkeeper. In addition, the aforementioned match videos and player stats were made available to players and other stakeholders through our analytical platform.
Also, to assist the development of the referees, the video footage of key referee decisions and the plays leading up to them were retrieved and made available for the referees to review themselves.
To help with the community outreach, we developed digital content and leveraged our network and social media presence to bring them out to a broader audience. The digital content included:
Points table for each tournament, updated after each match-day
Regularly updated leader-board of goal scorers, assist providers, GK saves, etc.
Community outreach and improving fan engagement in these tournaments were among the key hurdles faced by KSFA.
However, KSFA’s partnership with SportsKPI resulted in an unprecedented growth in the engagement and awareness of the leagues.
Profiles for each player were created containing their stats, and for the first time ever, these players had access to their own performance stats. We also shared this analysis/data with other relevant stakeholders like scouts from the National team and other prominent professional clubs in the country to assist them in talent identification .
Coaches utilised the match footage to analyse the opponents beforehand and tweak their own teams’ tactics to prepare for specific opponents. Naturally, this led to a significant improvement in the quality of football and preparations leading up to the match days.
KSFA had access to all the statistical information needed to decide on the best forward, midfielder, defender, and goalkeeper in each league. Additionally, they were also able to present this information to the public to improve the transparency of awards in the individual categories.
Referee development is one of the key aspects in improving the football landscape of the state. With access to the video analysis of each referee’s decision-making, they can evaluate their own performances and identify the key areas to improve.