A licence to coach soccer stars

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  • Published 7.07.09

Jamshedpur, July 7: The resume of former Indian midfielder P. Vijay Kumar will become all the more impressive.

Kumar has cleared the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) A Licence coaching course, making him eligible to spread his wings in the national soccer circuit.

Kumar, who is associated with Tata Football Academy (TFA) as an assistant coach, is the only person from the state to have cleared the hurdle. The 50-year-old, along with 25 other aspirants, sat for the A License course examination conducted by the AFC in the city in July-August, 2008. Only five candidates could taste success and Kumar was one of them.

“I am glad to clear the exam,” Kumar told The Telegraph.

All India Football Federation has recently made it mandatory for professional clubs competing in the domestic circuit to hire coaches armed with A Licence and now that Kumar has cleared the exam, it will help him don the coach’s hat easily. Kumar cleared the C and B Licence courses in 1997 and 2006, respectively.

“It is my hard work that paid well. Now, I want to put into use the advanced knowledge that I have gained about coaching and teach young footballers,” said Kumar, who is training the wards of the TFA for over a decade now.

Kumar, a classy midfielder in his hay days, had donned India colours for four years (1986-89) in a trot.

He was part of the national squad in the SAF Games in Calcutta in 1987, besides turning out in three Nehru Cup matches (1987-89) in Calicut, Calcutta and Siliguri.

Kumar also played for the country in the Asia Cup (Singapore) in 1988.

“Like all soccer players, I have also had my share of success and failure. But wearing the India jersey gave me the greatest pleasure. It gave me a lot of confidence and zest to give all for my team’s sake,” added Kumar, who also played for erstwhile Bihar for 11 years. He also had a five-year stint with Bengal.

Born and brought up in Jamshedpur, Kumar joined Tata Steel in 1977. He originally hails from Hyderabad. The former international player has been a pillar of strength when it comes to the TFA.

He has been instrumental in shaping careers of several cadets, who are now with various professional football clubs.

“I am satisfied to that see my wards performing well. We have a good training apparatus and Shyam Thapa’s inclusion as technical adviser will only improve the quality of training we impart to the cadets,” Kumar added.