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Mentor’s new skills lift TFA hopes
- Japan stint will sharpen soccer training, says Faruk Ahmad

After a string of poor performances, Tata Football Academy (TFA) can hope for a change in fortunes.

For, the cradle’s mentor Faruk Ahmad has returned after completing an advanced coaching course from Japan and is eager to use his expertise to help the TFA boys realise their full potential.

Ahmad is among few football coaches to have successfully completed the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Professional Licence Course, the highest ranked programme of its kind in Asia. National coach Wim Koevermans was instructor for the course, which was conducted in India for the first time this year.

Ahmad recently returned to the city after clearing the third module of the course, held in Japan from May 4 to 25.

The TFA mentor is the seventh Indian to completed the AFC course. Others include Derek Perera from Salgaocar FC; Mariano Dias from Churchill Brothers; Santosh Kashyap and Khalid Jamil from both Mumbai FC; Thangboi Singto from Lajong FC and Stanley Rozario from Eagles Sports Club, Kerala.

“All India Football Federation (AIFF) selected the candidates for the course and I was among the lucky few who got the nod. I cleared the first module held in Mumbai last July and the second at Pune in March-April. The third module was held in Japan, while the fourth and last one, during which we will assist World Cup team mentors, will be held in India or abroad by year-end,” Ahmad told The Telegraph on Thursday.

Ahmad, who joined TFA in August last year, said he picked up lessons in structured coaching, skill sharpening and man management. “These are three vital components of professional training. I am looking forward to utilise my knowledge to improve the skills of TFA boys. It’s a big challenge,” said Ahmad, who has earlier mentored Mahindra United FC for eight years.

The seasoned mentor admitted TFA’s performance was not up to the mark. “But, we are slowly and steadily picking up. We performed satisfactorily against a couple of I-League outfits. A lot of hard work will be required but I am confident,” said the Mumbai-based mentor, also the only Indian to have completed the Union of European Football Association (UEFA) Pro A licence course.

Ahmad trains senior cadets while Shakti Chouhan takes care of the juniors.