It has been a highly promising football season for the Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA), capped by the performance of the U15 and U18 teams. These teams have shown great promise, playing for a professional I-League team, Fateh Hyderabad AFC. They eventually brought back goodwill to the Rural Development Trust’s (RDT) investment, and have promoted its objective of inculcating a sporting and footballing culture among the youth in the Anantapur District.
Seeing the spark that these youngsters have rekindled in football in Anantapur, the ASA has decided to reach out to more children. This time however, they believe that they need to nurture younger talent to reach their objective. They are looking to broaden the ASA football programme by bringing children in the U11, U13 and U15 categories on board at the residential academy. For this they roped in professional assistance in the form of Spaniard Jofre Mateu Gonzalez, a highly popular household name, and one of the most successful foreign players in the Indian Super League. Jofre Mateu won the inaugural 2014 ISL season with Atletico de Kolkata and was a part of FC Goa, the runners-up in the 2015 season.
The selections were conducted on the basis of a comprehensive football camp. This camp was conducted by Jofre Mateu with the assistance of ASA Football Head Coach Miquel Llado from 26th February 2016 to 2nd March 2016. As many as 235 young boys were shortlisted for this selection camp through RDT’s intensive and highly detailed talent ID programme. These boys were put up at the RDT’s Anantapur Sports Village (ASV) for the duration of the camp.
The boys were split up into nine groups. A total of 60 U11 boys in two groups of 30 each, 75 U13 boys in three groups of 25 each and another 100 U15 boys in four groups of 25 each. Every group was assigned a coach each during the course of the camp. At the camp, every group was involved in nine training sessions, and had one master session with Jofre Mateu and ASA Head Coach, Miquel Llado.
In addition to this, the ASA Coaches and the football academy boys were involved in a Strategy and Video Analysis session and a Leadership session conducted by a Spanish company, Aktua Liderazgo Deportivo. The company works to promote Leadership Skills in youngsters, and particularly in sportspeople.
Talking about the selection process, ASA Football Head Coach, Miquel Llado explained:
“It will be great for us to have Jofre amongst us, helping us to select our latest crop of footballing geniuses. We have seen a vibrant buzz among the boys from the time they discovered that Jofre will be conducting this camp during the time of the selection process for next year’s season, and this enthusiasm only assures us of the good times ahead.”
Here are some shots of the selection camp held at ASA:
Contributed by Maxon Sequiera