Connect with us

Bengaluru FC

Bengaluru FC Soccer Schools continues the trend of focus on grassroots football in India

The state of Indian football is nowhere near where its fans want it to be and indeed  where it should be. For a country that has a population of well over a billion, we should be capable of producing far more players that are at least capable of holding their own against Asia’s elite. Yes that’s a  simplistic view that fails to take into account various factors such as the lack of infrastructure in most parts of the country, the low profile of the national league and so on and so forth. So the million dollar question is what does India and the All India Football Federation (AIFF) have to do to shock into consciousness the sleeping giant that is Indian football?

The truth is that there simply isn’t a one-stop solution. No magic wave of a wand will do. There are several things that can and should be done to improve the health of Indian football. Firstly, the I-League needs to gain more popularity. The traditional footballing hotspots of Kolkata and Goa aside the national league is yet to strike a chord with the average young football fan, of whom there are plenty.

While cricket still remains numero uno, there has been a surge in the football market in recent years especially with interest in the high profile European Leagues. Personally, my interest in the I-League was most certainly passing in nature until the formation of Bengaluru FC which meant I finally had a local side to support. The I-League is currently a 13 team league with 8 of the teams from either Kolkata or Goa, hardly conducive to involving fans from all over the country. Theoretically an  expanded league with a higher standard of football would create more interest among fans. The corresponding rise in commercial revenue would only help raise the profile of the league and the standard of football forming a cycle of events. In theory, a better quality league should benefit the local footballers although the Premier League is a damning indictment of the fact that a healthy football league doesn’t necessarily translate to the national team. The rise of more “professional” clubs in the form of Bengaluru FC and Pune FC and the proposed new Indian Super League are indicators that we are heading in the right direction in this regard.

Many, including me, however believe that the key to unlocking a bright future for Indian football lies in promoting grassroots football. Don’t get me wrong, the argument made above makes perfect sense but at the end of the day it is papering over the cracks which is of no avail unless the foundation is reinforced. In a time where speculation on the dangers of “over-coaching” are a hot topic of discussion, I’d say that no coaching is a far greater threat to Indian football. In terms of infrastructure, this quote from Ashley Westwood, manager of Bengaluru FC, in an interview with football365.com is revealing, “When I arrived, I walked into a training facility that was two inches thick with dust.” Later in the interview he did say that the pitches were fine. The same unfortunately can’t be said at the grassroots level where unless it’s one of the bigger academies, sustaining a football pitch may not be viable. This is why the onus is on the clubs to promote grassroots football and to be fair most do so. It is heartening to see Bengaluru FC join the trend in  their first year.

Bengaluru FC Soccer Schools

Bengaluru FC Soccer Schools

Bengaluru FC aren’t the first club to take the promotion of grassroots football seriously and most certainly won’t be the last. Almost every club in the country do have their own academy but as mentioned above the large number of clubs from particular areas mean that the net has to be widened. This is where the work of the independent football academies such as the Tata Football Academy, Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools, Mahindra Youth Football Challenge comes into the picture. Additionally with India being recognized as a rising market for football, we see plenty of big clubs set up their academies in the country which one would hope can improve the standard of coaching at the junior level and provide much needed exposure and infrastructure for the stars of tomorrow. Liverpool, for example, have launched their first academy in India recently.

Moving back to Bengaluru FC, as a fan I’m delighted that the club has taken a step in the right direction in terms of promoting grassroots football. Given that the side was built from scratch at the start of the season, it’s understandable that there aren’t that many local players in the squad. However, as years go on and Bengaluru FC develop further I’d love for them to be associated with a strong academy and develop a tradition of promoting from within and creating a conveyor belt of local stars. We’ve already seen encouraging signs at junior levels this year at the Elite Academy headed by Richard Hood. There has been much to like about Bengaluru FC so far, something that has been appreciated by fans far more unbiased than me, and an apparent focus on development of youth bodes well for both the club and Indian football in general. It’s still early days though and there’s plenty of work to be done but the early signs are certainly promising.

Arnab Ray

Arnab Ray

Arnab is an opinionated Bengaluru FC and Manchester United fan. Always up for a good football discussion/ petty argument.
Arnab Ray

100 to Watch

Latest

Talent Radar1 day ago

Talent Radar: Superliga Argentina’s 10 Young Players to Watch in 2017-18

Tom Robinson lists out the 10 young players to watch in the 2017-18 Superliga Argentina season The Argentinian Primera, in...

Scout Report1 day ago

Scout Report: Riccardo Orsolini | Atalanta’s deft winger

Charles Onwuakpa writes about 2017 U-20 World Cup Italian star and Atalanta talent, Riccardo Orsolini

Talent Radar2 days ago

Talent Radar 2017-18 Young Players’ Team of the Week #1: Christian Pulisic & Kurt Zouma feature

Sami Faizullah compiles the Talent Radar Young Players' Team of the Week across Europe's top seven leagues.

Talent Radar3 days ago

La Liga’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

Tom Canton lists out the 10 young players to watch in the 2017-18 La Liga season, who could have a...

Tactical Analysis5 days ago

Tactical Analysis: Juventus 2-3 Lazio | Simone Inzaghi exposes Juventus’ 4-2-3-1 weaknesses

Cheuk Hei Ho writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Italian Super Cup final that finished Juventus 2-3 Lazio

Tactical Analysis5 days ago

Tactical Analysis: Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City | Attacking Patterns & Transitions

Kaushik Goswami writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Premier League opener that finished Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City

Talent Radar6 days ago

Premier League’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

William Sinsky brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Premier League this season. It’s back. The...

Tactical Analysis6 days ago

Tactical Analysis: Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona | Real’s Pressing Excellence

Om Arvind writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Spanish Super Cup second leg that finished Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona...

Talent Radar1 week ago

Serie A’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

Simone Torricini brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Serie A this season. The Under-20 World...

Tactical Analysis1 week ago

Tactical Analysis: Manchester United 4-0 West Ham | Fluidity and exploitation

Ryan Quinn writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Premier League game that finished Manchester United 4-0 West Ham Following the signings...

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

Eredivisie’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

Mosope Ominiyi brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Eredivisie this season. Justin Kluivert // Ajax...

Talent Radar3 weeks ago

Primeira Liga’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

Jose Miguel Saraiva brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Primeira Liga this season.

Scout Report3 weeks ago

Scout Report: Ainsley Maitland-Niles | Arsenal’s Versatile Prospect

Mosope Ominiyi provides a detailed scout report on Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Arsenal’s versatile prospect. Arsene Wenger announced that along with 17-year-old winger...

Specials3 weeks ago

Lazio’s Golden Age: The Sergio Cragnotti Era

Football News 24/7  Sam McKeever has a look back at Lazio’s golden era in the 90’s under the ownership of Sergio...

Opinions3 weeks ago

Analysis: Why Nemanja Matic could be Manchester United’s most important signing

Kaushik Goswami has a look at why Nemanja Matic could be Manchester United’s most important signing. Having already lured Romelu...

Opinions3 weeks ago

Monaco’s Moves: Why the Football World should pay attention

While the football world is focused on the players being sold by Monaco, Alex Lynch has a look at how...

Scout Report3 weeks ago

Scout Report: Joel Pereira | Manchester United’s Agile Goalkeeper

Mateus Carvalho provides a comprehensive scout report on Joel Pereira, Manchester United’s agile goalkeeper. At the end of the last season, José...

Talent Radar4 weeks ago

Talent Radar: CONCACAF Gold Cup 2017 | U-23 Team of the Tournament

Football News 24/7  Jose Miguel Saraiva gives us his U-23 Team of the recently concluded CONCACAF Gold Cup featuring the...

Opinions4 weeks ago

Blindside Movements And Mental Overloads: Breaking Down Maurizio Sarri’s Tactics

Cheuk Hei Ho breaks down Maurizio Sarri’s tactics at Napoli looking at how the Italian giants use passing, blindside movements,...

Opinions4 weeks ago

Bayern Munich: What’s their game plan?

Alankrith Shankar writes a detailed article of how we can expect Bayern Munich to set up in the 2017-18 season....

Talent Radar Award History

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Young Player Rankings 16-17

More on Outside of the Boot