As a part of their endeavour to promote elite football talents and train players from a young age, Bengaluru FC hosted a press conference earlier this week to announce their plans of setting up a residential academy at the JSW Township in Vijayanagar, Bellary. COO Mustafa Ghouse, CTO Mandar Tamhane and newly appointed Head of Youth Development, John Kila, spoke to the press from the club’s offices at Bangalore Football Stadium.
The club will scout for talent in Bengaluru, Kerala, Mizoram, Punjab and Chandigarh. Currently, they are only looking for youth in the Under-16 and Under-18 age categories. Those players who display exceptional talent during the first round of trials will be shortlisted, and will have to undergo a final selection, before the chosen candidates will relocate to the academy in Vijayanagar. At the academy, the selected youth will be provided with accommodation, education and nutrition at no cost with this fully-funded youth development programme overseen by Dutchman, John Kila.
“Youth Development has always been a part of the club’s philosophy and a residential academy is something we’ve wanted to put in place for quite a while now. John [Kila] comes with a rich experience of having implemented youth programs at various clubs and we are sure that under his guidance, our youngsters will progress through the ranks and make it to the club’s first team and in time, the Indian National Football Team as well.” – Mustafa Ghouse, COO, JSW Bengaluru FC
To get a better understanding of how academies function, club officials travelled to a number of residential academies in Europe to gain first-hand knowledge about their inner workings. They found that outside of training, the players led a normal life and even went to school to study. The objective of these academies is all-round development of the player, and players who are selected to join the BFC Academy will be there for a minimum of two years, providing the coaches with enough time to properly guide the youth and help them become better players.
The BFC Academy will have licensed coaches, physiotherapists, and professionals in strength and conditioning working together with the youth and the club’s first team. The Academy has a full-length sand-based football pitch equipped with floodlights, a swimming pool and a gymnasium. The club is hopeful that Kila’s previous experience in Ghana with the West African Football Academy will help him in readying the youth to take their places in the starting XI. Kila is quite excited about the project and is thrilled to be a part of a club that is looking to put youth on the first team.
“My job is to give a structure to the development plan of youth teams with the experience I have gained over the years so that they become professionals capable of playing for the first team.” – John Kila, Head of Youth Development, JSW Bengaluru FC
While the selected U18 and U16 players will be relocated to the residential facility at Bellary, the club will continue to train the U8 to U14 players in Bengaluru itself. Bengaluru is among the few I-League teams to set up a residential academy in India following in the footsteps of clubs like Pune FC, who have both set a fabulous example for other I-League and ISL clubs. We look forward to seeing the talent the residential academy is able to produce 2 and 3 years from now.
If you fall under the U18 (January 1998 to December 1999) or the U16 (January 2000 to December 2003) category, you are eligible to sign up for the Bengaluru try outs to be held in the city from 23rd to 30th July, 2016.
Click here to sign up online, or sign up offline by visiting the Bangalore Football Stadium after 10 a.m.
Dates for selections in the other areas have not yet been announced.