La Liga schools' programme reaches Kolkata through Bhawanipore FC | Football News - Hindustan Times
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La Liga schools' programme reaches Kolkata through Bhawanipore FC

Apr 13, 2024 10:40 PM IST

Programme to start with 25 boys each in under-13 and under-15 age bracket.

La Liga Academy Football Schools in India, which has a footprint in almost 40 Indian cities, forayed into Kolkata through a tie-up with Bhawanipore FC on Saturday. The Spanish league’s programme will provide technical support to the centre of excellence set up by the 114-year-old club.

La Liga Academy Football Schools India technical director Miguel Casal at the launch of the programme in Kolkata on Saturday. Credit: Bhawanipore FC
La Liga Academy Football Schools India technical director Miguel Casal at the launch of the programme in Kolkata on Saturday. Credit: Bhawanipore FC

The centre will start with 50 boys spread equally in the under-13 and under-15 age-groups, said Aparup Chakraborty, CEO of Bhawanipore FC ProIndia Centre of Excellence. Girls will also be trained under the programme, he said without specifying the number. The aim of the grassroots development programme is to provide players for I-League second division, said Chakraborty.

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I-League 2 is the next step after state leagues in the Indian leagues’ pyramid, a competition where teams are promoted to I-League top tier from where the winners can go to ISL.

Boys aged between nine and 10 will be scouted from baby leagues organised through the state, he said. Bhawanipore will also set up a number of player development programmes in schools in the districts of West Bengal, said club owner Srinjoy Bose.

Players chosen from those programmes will be trained by Bhawanipore FC coaches under the curriculum developed by La Liga, said Bose. Bhawanipore FC aims to play national under-15 and under-17 youth leagues and the nursery league run by Indian Football Association, which helms the sport in West Bengal, with players chosen through this programme, said Chakraborty.

The programme will also help develop Indian coaches, said Spaniard Miguel Casal, who is also the technical director of La Liga Football Schools India. “We want more kids to play under the La Liga methodology. We will be visiting the centres and giving training to coaches,” said Casal.

The programme, which also includes a pay-and-play scheme, will be non-residential now but Bhawanipore FC have begun talking to different boarding schools in Kolkata. The club’s centre of excellence will be integrated with the Blue Cubs grassroots development project started by All India Football Federation for boys and girls in the 4-12 age bracket. Step Out Analytics, a football analytics company based in Bengaluru, has been roped in for the project.

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