Dutch touch to B'lore football

KNVB to partner Ozonegroup to improve state of sport

The Dutch Football Association (KNVB) on Thursday announced their partnership with Ozonegroup Football Academy that will help educate coaches and nurture young talent from the economically underprivileged sections of the society in Bangalore.

John van Geijn

The programme, known as ‘World Coaches’ and started by the KNVB in October 2009, has been conducted in nearly 13 nations, including five-time world champions Brazil.
“Football is hugely popular in India but lacks in quality,” said Ozonegroup chairman S Vasudevan after announcing the programme. “As many are aware, India did exceedingly well in the 1950s and 60s when we competed in the Olympics. That was the golden period of Indian football.

“Post that, the game has just declined due to a combination of factors. While the quality has taken a huge beating, the popularity has just risen. The amount of people -- especially the youth -- who follow English Premier League, Spanish League and European competition is phenomenal. We easily are one of the largest audiences.

“We’ve also have greats clubs in East Bengal, Mohun Bagan boasting of enormous history. Sadly, our performance as a country now is nothing great. We believe there is lot of talent out there and it needs to be tapped at the grassroot level. That’s is the only way forward and we hope through our association with Dutch Football we can contribute towards the betterment of Indian football,” added Vasudevan.

Selection trials, to be overseen by World Coaches International Instructors Nico Lahm and Gerard Nijkamp, will be held on January 24, 25 and 28 for under-10, 11 and 12 age categories at the Bangalore Football stadium. Around sixty kids from the three categories will be chosen, who will then be imparted training at the Ozonegroup Football Academy in Whitefield over the next six months.

A coaches’ clinic will be conducted in February where aspiring coaches and managers will be provided further training by the KNVB. A selected few will also be inducted into the Word Coaches programme where they will eligible to train the kids. “Our programme is an ongoing one,” said manager of KNVB John van Geijn. “Netherlands is a very small country, yet we’ve been able to achieve wonderful things in football. It is through a lot of sweat and toil. It is imperative to have a strong structure from the under-5 level to the senior side.

“Our aim is to spread our knowledge with kids in countries who don’t have basic access to training. If even one kid from our training programme graduates to play for a top club or wear India colours, it’s a success,” added Geijn.

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