Calcutta, Jan. 18: Repeated failures in the Santosh Trophy have forced the IFA to take a closer look at its youth development programme. The review has yielded fruits as German coaches are set to come visiting to work with coaches in the state.
Following an IFA application last March, the German foreign ministry has agreed to send coaches to train coaches here. The German consent, in fact, came recently, via a letter dated January 7.
“Basically, we want our junior-level coaches to work under the German coach for a two-month period so that they can pass on those lessons to junior boys,” IFA joint secretary Ranjit Gupta told The Telegraph.
Gupta added efforts are on to send junior teams to Germany this year. “It’s still in a nascent stage, let’s see how it works out.”
The IFA official also informed that academies have been set up in the districts — with the help of SAI and the government of West Bengal — where junior players can stay over weekends and practise.
Meanwhile, the IFA will provide financial aid to Sukantanagar High School, former Subrata Cup champions. SAI used to provide funds for residential facilities, but backed out from last year.
“We have decided to provide that finance so that they can restart their residential scheme,” the joint secretary informed.
The IFA, of course, will have a say in policy matters in the school, like selection of players. “The current practice is to take trainees for five years and persist with them for the entire period even if they don’t yield proper results. But we will monitor the progress of a student on a short-term basis… If he is not up to the mark, he’ll be asked to leave,” Gupta said.
The association plans to introduce an under-12 category to the under-14 one that is currently working.
Meanwhile, representatives of a well-known British marketing agency — which has worked in the Premier League and the Chinese League — will come to the city on January 26 to inspect whether a professional set-up can be introduced here.
The company will look at the youth development programme of the state and direct sponsorship possibilities in the Calcutta Football League.