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Maniratan was a footballer himself and he represented Manipur in the senior national football championship eight times. He was in the senior Indian football preparatory camp several times including in the first Nehru Gold Cup, held in 1982. After finishing his career, he developed a desire and that was to take his state Manipur to shine on the map of Indian football. So, he acquired coaching degrees in the 90s under the observation and guidance of the late P.K. Banerjee. He even completed a coaching course under FIFA’s grassroots program under the guidance of Australian instructor Scott O’Donnell. Today, he is the man behind the revolution in Manipur football that has already produced several footballers who have been glorifying the state and country over the years.
Maniratan revealed Manipur Football Association introduced programs for the development of grass-route football in 1985 which included under-12 and under-14 boys and girls. Only nine districts had participated in that program. Maniratan stated,
“When the program started in 1985 our basic motive was to spot kids who were passionate about the game and impart them the basic technique.”
The boom began actually in 2002 when grass route programs were officially launched throughout Manipur. The number of age groups increased. Under-8, under -12, and under-14 boys and girls were being imparted training through non-residential coaching programs. Maniratan added,
“More than 320 children between six and 14 years are being imparted training through non-residential programs. We have more than 40 coaches associated with the programs. We have C-licensed and B-licensed coaches. Even some of the former footballers who have not yet earned basic coaching degrees have been engaged in coaching. Simultaneously, we educate those former footballers precisely to teach the man-management skill so that they can encourage the children properly.”
Along with the grass route development program introduced by Manipur Football Association, another program named ‘Vision India’ initiated by Asian Football Confederation (AFC) was introduced in Manipur in 2006.
According to Maniratan, the reflection of that movement is tremendous. Today he is happy to have seen the reflection after 37 years. Maniratan revealed,
“Today, look at the statistics. We have already produced eight boys who donned Indian shirts in the under-17 World Cup that took place in India. We have seven girls who were on the Indian women’s team for the under-17 World Cup. More significantly, if you look back to the past, you will find more than 50 footballers from our state who have represented India and represented all the big football clubs throughout India. There are at least 10 to 12 footballers representing different clubs in ISL and there are more than 25 footballers who have been playing different I-League clubs in recent times.”