Trainees go through the paces on the inaugural day of the camp at Tata Football Academy in Jamshedpur on Wednesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Jamshedpur, June 1: The Messis and Kakas of the steel city are starting young and Tata Football Academy (TFA) is making sure that these budding stars of the soccer galaxy pick up the finer tricks of dribbling and shooting well.
More than 80 Under-10 boys from different school across the city today took part in a training camp, which was inaugurated at the academy here today. The camp will train the youngsters three days a week for four years.
Being conducted by experienced coaches of the Tata academy, the camp will teach the wannabe footballers the skills of dribbling, shooting, passing and goal-keeping.
“I was part of an inter-school tournament organised by TFA last month. The ambience at the camp is very good and will certainly help us learn a lot,” said a trainee.
Interestingly, the Tata cradle had hosted an inter-school tournament last month, wherein 17 city-based institutions, including Loyola, St Mary’s, KSMS, Carmel Junior College and Vidya Bharati Chinmaya Vidyalaya, had participated.
The 80 trainees selected to attend today’s training camp has been short-listed on the basis of their performance in that tournament.
“Training sessions will be held thrice a week for four years,” confirmed M.R. Bhalla, senior manager, TFA.
He added that the soccer cradle had for some time been focussing on young talents. “We want o catch them young and train them properly. The TFA has been honing the skills of young rural footballers for quite a while now. The current initiative is being undertaken in a more structured and elaborate manner,” Bhalla said.
Prodded on the details of the training programme, the senior manager said that the trainees would play competitive matches during their stint at the academy.
“We will be focussing all our energies in bringing them up to the TFA standards. These trainees may end up bagging berths with the academy at the end of the training period,” Bhalla said.
He, however, was quick to add that selection to the cradle would be strictly on the basis of merit and trials held during the training stint.
“The boys will have to attend selection trials and compete with players who come here from across the country. They have to be on the top to bag a berth at TFA,” he said.
Coach P. Vijay Kumar said the football academy had decided to hold the camp for boys aged 10 or less because it was considered to be the golden age of learning. “Last month’s tourney was important and we got to see some inborn genius,” he said.
Officials of the soccer cradle maintained that a select number of trainees could hope for TFA berths by 2016. “By that time, they will be ready for selection trials,” an official said.