Inter Milan to set up academy

Inter Milan to set up academy

Italian Serie A club Inter Milan will soon become the first major European football team to set up a full-fledged grass roots training programme in India.

Representatives of the Nerrazuri, who were here in the city on Friday as part of a coaching clinic for young kids at the Bangalore Football Stadium, confirmed that their academy, which is coming up in Hosur, is slated for a May opening.

The Hosur facility will be Inter’s second school in Asia (they have one in Japan). Inter’s youth coaches, who have been in India for the last one week, have already held coaching clinics in Chennai, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. They will be opening city centres for kids to come and train thrice in a week in all the three places.

Speaking about Inter’s investment in India, one of the coaches, Andrea Ratti, said this venture will be different from other global football clubs who have set up shop in the country. “Our idea is not just to sell our brand, we also want to work directly. We think our philosophy is to work together and work hard to get players, who, in the future, may be good enough to come to Serie A (the top-flight football division in Italy).”

“The idea of the academy is that there will be lots of work done at the grass roots level — to train the kids as well as to train the coaches based on the ‘Inter Milan methodology’.  Hosur was selected because of its geographical proximity to Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala,” Ratti said.

While they haven’t yet set an upper limit on the number of potential candidates they want in the academy, Ratti mentioned they they will be picking up BDFA, KSFA and DYES kids at first and, if they can work out a suitable arrangement with FIFA, they will even pick up the boys who are currently training in their academies.

The academy will have boarding facilities for all the selected trainees and at least one coach from Inter will be present for a period of three months per year to monitor their progress. Asked if the increased focus on Asia was a direct consequence of the new Asian owner, Erick Thohrir, Ratti replied in the negative.

“The plan was in the pipeline when (Massimo) Moratti was here. We just went ahead and did it when Thohrir took over.”

Stefano Rapetti, a former first-team coach of Inter, spoke with pride when asked about working with kids. “I saw a lot of players with big passion and heart. Back in Italy, it’s just a job but here many people want to actually improve. It’s been an amazing experience.”

Boca Juniors, Liverpool and Barcelona are some of the clubs to have held workshops and clinics in the country in the last few years but none of them have held a sustained interest in the country. That should be the challenge for Inter. 

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