Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to visit a few of the top youth football Academies in India. It’s always interesting to see first-hand some of the blood, sweat and tears football administrators are investing into the future of the sport in the country. Not to mention, I love experiencing different cultures, norms and idiosyncrasies in each place I visit (there are many). I won't get too deep into my personal adventures and challenges of travelling through West Bengal and Punjab in the insanely hot month of May. I'll need to save those for another blog.
I've included the places I’ve visited with some pictures.
Pailan World School (Kolkata) http://www.pailanworldschool.com/
|Workers putting in artificial turf for the new FIFA Youth Academy|
Chandigarh Football Academy http://chandigarh.gov.in/dept_sports7.htm
|Hostel where the CFA players live|
YFC Rurka Kalan (Rurka Kalan, Punjab) http://yfcrurkakalan.org/
I’ll save commentary for future posts, however the main message I took away from this entire experience is that the raw talent definitely exists and, to some extent, so does the necessary infrastructure to produce a strong national team. What’s missing is quality coaching, nutrition, access and domestic opportunities. Until we empower these existing Academies instead of leaving them out to fend for themselves, we will continue to see the same poor results at the national level for years to come.