This is a story of two Brazilian footballers who, having earned name and fame in India now want to give something back. Dreaming of an academy, Beto and Jose Barreto on Friday set the ball rolling in Goa with a training centre for 100 children, a first by imports in Indian football. And by next year, they hope to have an edition of the Brasil Futebol Academia in Kolkata.
"We had been talking about it for two years but could never really find the time," Beto, Dempo's playmaker since 2005 and former skipper, told HT from Goa. "Through the help of our Brazilian associates, we have fixed two coaches and two assistants who will reach here by month-end."
A ground has been taken on hire near Panaji where, Beto said, training will happen six days a week. "We are starting with 100 boys who will be divided into under-10, under-12, under-14 and under-16 age-groups. The boys will come directly from school after which they will be helped with their homework and then taken to the ground," Beto said. Trials commence on Tuesday.
For the moment, all incidental expenses will be borne by the two players. "We hope to get sponsors to help us but have nothing yet," Beto said. Since they don't have hostel facilities yet, the boys for now will all be from Goa.
Beto claimed that not just he and Barreto, this project has the backing of all Brazilians playing in India. And it doesn't end there. Bhaichung Bhutia, president of the Football Players Association of India (FPAI), congratulated his Mohun Bagan teammate and Beto for the initiative.
"This is a wonderful concept and I wish them all the best. The FPAI will always support them if they need any help," Bhutia, also in Goa for the national team's camp, said.
"Many big clubs have visited India and made promises but nothing's materialised yet.”