Indian football cubs have recently completed an extensive training programme with Manchester City Football School in the United Kingdom. A total of 40 talented footballers under the age of 17 from Kolkata, Bangalore, Mumbai, and New Delhi were selected for the eight-day training programme.
The players underwent an intense six-day training session at the Manchester City Football Academy with Manchester City coaches. They also took part in the Premier Explore Cup 2016 tournament held at Manchester Regional Arena where Team Bangalore ended as champions and Team Kolkata came second.
Peter Watts, Director of Premier Explore, told BE, “The Premier Explore Cup focused on providing talented Indian footballers with unrivalled exposure to elite coaching and the world’s finest football facilities.” The players got selected at regional trials conducted by UEFA coaches in India. The initiative was to aid the spread of football in India and to provide global exposure to young Indian footballers.
Watts informed, “During our first year, we just wanted to run a successful tournament and didn’t focus on advertising or seeking sponsorship. After its successful conclusion this year, we plan to expand the scope of this tournament and include eight Indian cities.”
Talking about the differences in training methods, Watts said, “Access to quality football pitches and coaching is readily available throughout the UK and there is a strong youth system that is organized and regulated by the English Football Association. There is also a good coach education scheme for young coaches to gain qualifications and develop their skills. This means that the quality of coaching available at all levels is of a high standard.”
Anarghya Das, a student of Delhi Public School (New Town) who was among the 40 footballers, observed, “In India, I feel we lack good quality pitches like the ones in England. If the ground is muddy and wet, our gameplay changes and we are taught by the coaches not to hold the ball and clear it first time rather than holding a ball and creating a game.”
This initiative is definitely a positive start and in the long run, it can make a large difference by helping India’s young footballers and giving them global exposure.