17 Indian players to train with Hoffenheim for six years
Three kids from Goa among those who have been selected
Football in India has been on the rise, be it in the form of viewers or youngsters picking up a ball to kick. In recent weeks, the Indian U-16 side has been beating youth teams in Germany as a preparation for the U-17 World Cup being held in India.
A number of players have also been offered trials with European clubs and Romeo Fernandes even went over to Brazil to play in the top division of the country. According to reports, now 17 kids have been offered full scholarships to train with Bundesliga club 1899 Hoffenheim. This training program will last for six years, which would effectively mean that the youngsters will learn the very basics of football from the World Champions.
CEO and founder of UTV group, Ronnie Screwvala’s U Dream Football is responsible for this exceptional opportunity that the youngsters have been offered. U Dream Football scouted the players from various parts of the country who will then be a part of the U Dream Haryana Football Club when they return to India after their stint in Germany.
The scouts selected the youngsters from over 45 cities across India, which included almost 1000 schools. The players will be accompanied by former Indian captain Mahesh Gawli. In order to ensure that the players’ education is not hampered, three CBSE teachers are also going to accompany the team in Germany.
Sen believes the program will allow India to be catalysts of change at the grassroots level of the sport
“Unlike other football programs, the long-term association allows students to truly imbibe the spirit of the game and also understand an international level of professionalism that accompanies being a professional footballer. We believe that this program will truly allow us to be catalysts of change at the grassroots level of the sport,” Supratik Sen, CEO - U Sports was quoted in the interview.
Over the next few months, U Sports under the U Dream Football program will introduce 10 U Dream Excellence Centres across the country that will be staffed with coaches from TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and Bundesliga to implement a coaching program for children to build a stronger base of candidates for the next program and to also train coaches across the country.
Ronnie Screwvala felt that when the youngsters’ return from the World Champions would only help the sport grow in the country. He said, “Under the U Dream Football banner, we hope to enhance the country's youth development system in the sport.”
“These 15 boys on their return and post the rigorous and scientific training under the watchful guidance of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim's certified coaches, will be a great contribution to the sport in the country. As we gear up to host the U-17 FIFA World Cup, we know that it is programs such as these that will be a huge benefit to the sporting ecosystem,” Screwvala concluded.
Pranav Kanse (Kolhapur), Akash Mishra (Lucknow), Pradeep Mannewar (Udaipur), Aniket Varekar (Kolhapur), Shivam Maan (New Delhi), Kumar Rathod (Mumbai), Ayush Adhikari (Noida), Ankit Bhuyan (Bhubaneshwar), Ishant Rana (Mumbai), Raul Lewis (Mumbai), Armaan Kalra (Gurgaon), Delton Colaco, Kimran Fernandes, Wellyster Mendes (Goa), Manish Malyadri Siddha (Pune) are the youngster who have been selected for the programme.