With a season of drastic changes upcoming the Kerala Blasters have unveiled a state-wide football schools programme that they have claimed as a fresh beginning.
In tie up with the Kerala Football Association, the two-time ISL finalists announced Kerala Blasters Football Schools’, a programme that has officially scrapped its three-season-long connection with Prodigy Sportz.
“It is a start from the scratch,” said Kerala Blasters CEO Varun Tripuraneni after declaring that the Football Schools will roll out in every district starting Saturday.
“We’ll be having 25 coaching centres across the state in the first phase and we’re probably the only ISL team to come up with such an initiative,” said Tripuraneni.
The club has informed that coaching centres will offer training for U10, U12, U14 and U16 boys and that girls will also be included in the programme though not separately “for the time being”.
“The aim is to have 100s of teams playing regular football every week, which in turn will give opportunity for the coaches. The idea is to have a strong pyramid structure where we have mass engagement,” said Tripuraneni.
It was informed that former Shillong Lajong coach Thangboi Singto, who was recently roped in as a technical director for youth development and senior team assistant, will oversee the programme.
KFA president KMI Mather said it was a welcome move by the club. “There is hope for more development in terms of football compared to the three previous seasons,” said Mather.
Every district will have a development centre that will comprise the best players from every school, in every age category. The Blasters are also planning loan deals for its football schools graduates with second division clubs and local sides “because the idea is for everyone to get competitive football”. Meanwhile, the club has said that it will be launching a residential academy “in a year or two”.
With the fourth edition of the ISL expected to have a longer season as two more teams have been added, the club remained silent on its player-transfer plans though dropped a hint that they’ll be holding on to star player C.K. Vineeth.
“There is potentially a draft so there is very little we can do with regards to the domestic players. But naturally there will be more Indians in the squad because the number of foreigners is going to be less this season,” said Tripuraneni....