Former Indian Football Team Captain and Arjuna Awardee Subrata Paul visited Zinc Football Academy as the Chief Guest to felicitate the budding footballers for their excellent performances both on and off the pitch.

The felicitation ceremony was organised in presence of Guest of Honour Arun Misra, CEO –Zinc Business, Vedanta, to celebrate the success of 16-year-old Zinc Football Academy goalkeeper Sahil Poonia as he recently became the first player from the Hindustan Zinc-initiated Academy to represent India at the international level.

Sahil won the best goalkeeper award on his international debut playing for the Blue Tigers in the SAFF U17 Championship held in Sri Lanka. He then went on to play in the 2023 AFC U17 Asian Cup Qualifiers in Saudi Arabia.

Further, another Zinc Football player Sonu Haardu was acknowledged for his commendable stint at the national Khelo India camp where he received the Top Athlete award. More players from the Academy who performed exceptionally well in their board exams were also felicitated.

Speaking at the ceremony, the 35-year-old veteran goalkeeper Subrata Paul said: “It has been a wonderful experience to visit Zinc Football and meet all the talented young footballers here. The facilities and infrastructure along with education that Hindustan Zinc is providing is really remarkable and being from an academy background, it is so great to see for me at a personal level. I wish the boys all the best and want them to reach even greater heights than what I did.”

Arun Misra, CEO, Hindustan Zinc, said: “It is an incredibly proud moment for us to felicitate our Zinc Football Academy players for their remarkable achievements. While Sahil Poonia has set the bar high by representing the India Under-17 team at the highest level, a few other players have come out with excellent academic results in their board exams, further exhibiting the holistic approach of our student-athlete model at Zinc Football.”

“It has been a great experience for all of us to be with the legendary footballer Subrata Paul today, and I am sure his insights will go a long way in encouraging our budding footballers”, he further added.

The CEO along with Subrata Paul also unveiled Hindustan Zinc’s new branding identity and logo for Vedanta Zinc Football & Sports Foundation today. The Vedanta Zinc Football & Sports Foundation is a newly formed Section-8 company that aims to consolidate all Hindustan Zinc’s sports initiatives under one entity.

The felicitation ceremony was also attended by Anupam Nidhi, CSR Head, Hindustan Zinc; Vinod Kumar, CEO, Zawar Mines, Hindustan Zinc; among other senior Hindustan Zinc representatives.