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Bengaluru FC announce John Kila as Head of Youth Development program

Bengaluru FC have appointed Dutchman John Kila as the Head of their exciting Youth Development Program.

John Kila (centre) with Mandar Tamhane (left) and Mustafa Ghouse (right)

CTO Mandar Tamhane, COO Mustafa Ghouse addressed the media in Bangalore along with the new Head of Youth Development John Kila. Two-time I-League champions Bengaluru FC announced their exciting plans for the future of the club and its youth in the press conference. Here is Sportskeeda’s coverage of the event: 

Mustafa Ghouse started off by introducing the club’s ideas and plans for the youth. Ghouse said that Bengaluru FC has always insisted on the importance of youth development and a good plan for it claiming that a number of home-grown youngsters have come into the first team in the past. “We feel that his experience and his exposure will see more players coming through to the first team and hopefully go on to play for the national team in the future,” he said.

Mustafa then presented briefly, the plan for the Youth Development program. The club will be collaborating with JSW sports and have opened up an academy in Vijayanagar, Bellary. The academy will provide accommodation to the U-18 and the U-16 youth teams, who will not only train to play football but also attend school. 

Other facilities in the academy include a gym, a swimming pool, a recovery and medical centre, which are all in place already. The academy is designed to help the kids in the whole process of developing into a football player. The U-8, U-10, U-12 and U-14 teams will reside at home and train three days a week during the day in Bangalore. “We want to give back to Indian football and this is our way of doing it,” said Mustafa.

Mustafa also clarified that there will be no expenditure from the child’s side and parents will not have to bear any of the costs. “Once the final selection is made, everything will be supported by BFC and there will be no spending required from their parents- including education,” he said.

Before handing it over to John Kila, Mustafa introduced the Dutchman. Kila comes from Ghana where he was working with age groups of U-13 to U-19. He also has experience in Japan, New Zealand, and Holland. Kila will be handling everything to do with the youth teams.

Dealing with youth players is better for Kila

The man of the moment, John Kila took over and introduced himself. The 51-year-old was in Ghana for seven years collaborating with Feyenoord from Holland. Kila believes that dealing with youth is better and it is his area of interest. “This club wants home-grown players into the first team. I like this ambition!” he said. 

“It’s a challenge to come to India. If you’re working in an academy for many years, you see players passing your team and making it big so it’s a great feeling. In Ghana, it’s more like surviving to pay your bills, but here it will be about developing players and pushing them forward.” 

“Maybe in two or three years, we can bring the first group of players who can star for the first team,” he said.

When asked whether the AIFF will be collaborating with BFC for the initiative, Mustafa said that AIFF would not be linking up as such but are in the loop and happy with the plans. With that, he concluded the Press conference.

Sportskeeda were also able to get an exclusive interview with John Kila after the event. Here’s how the conversation went:

Sportskeeda’s conversation with John Kila

We first asked John about the correlation between the size and population in a country and its talent and potential in football. With the likes of Iceland and Wales, both tiny countries we are increasingly seeing that there is no correlation between the two, do you agree?

John agreed, saying: “No, I think the size of the country doesn’t mean better potential as you say. The manner in which we nurture talent is most important. You can see many times coaches train kids in a wrong way and children don’t eat right – imagine eating McDonalds every day, what would happen to the player if that happened? Hence country’s size isn’t really an indicator of talent and potential”

He then went on the say that he was extremely impressed with the performance of Iceland and Wales at the Euros. Kila said that he was especially happy about Iceland’s performance since they were the ones to beat his country, Netherlands in the qualifiers for the Euros. However, he felt that most of the teams held back from attacking and were more defensive and cautious throughout the tournament.

Following up on his thoughts about nurturing youngsters, we asked him if great players were born with special talent or are great players made with the right training and nurturing?

John said that he thought it was a combination of both and that if the youngster isn’t talented it would be tough to make him a great player.

When asked about his preferred style of football he said that he doesn’t have a particular preference. “Styles and formations are very interchangeable. If one striker drops backs from a 4-3-3, then the formation ends up being 4-4-2. It’s a matter of hardly 10 meters.” He said.

Bengaluru FC’s ambitious plan will help their progress in the long run. Their emphasis on youth development is a great sign, something that other teams in India could follow. With the right planning and execution under John Kila, Bengaluru could also help India in the development of football in the future. 

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