Interview with Anish Khinda (Sport Esprit Academy, UK)
Young British Indian Anish Khinda was a bright football prospect, but when he realised that a professional football career was unlikely to happen, he decided to start his own academy, the Sport Esprit Academy, through which he is working to help communities not only in the UK but also in India. Here is an insightful interview with Anish:
Please tell us a little more about yourself?
I was born and raised in the United Kingdom and have played football for as long as I can remember. Growing up I always had a passion for football and had a strong passion to build a career within the football industry.
Tell us about your football career?
My career started to get serious at the age of 14 when I was scouted to play for Kettering Town FC where I attended a six week trial. After the six weeks I was offered a year’s contract for the U15s and progressed through the age groups. At the age of 16, I left school and was offered a youth team contract playing for the U18s, who I also captained in my second year as a youth team player. At 18 I was a regular in the reserves squad and was also involved with the first team when Paul Gascgoine was at the helm and Ron Atkinson was Director of football. After my time at Kettering I had a short stint with Chester City under Bobby Williamson.
How did you get into football coaching?
When I was a youth team player at Kettering Town FC I did some coaching as part of the community projects in local schools and really enjoyed it. I also dedicated a few hours a week to do football activities in a school for children who suffered from disability.
I would say I found a passion for coaching after seeing basic development in children who I was coaching and it really gave me the drive to develop children in football and pass on my own personal experiences.
How did you start Sport Esprit Academy? Where does SEA stand today?
At the age of 21 I took a look at my playing career and it wasn’t exactly settled with a pro club. I then used to think a lot about my personal life and the kind of future I wanted with a family of my own, etc. So I thought in the long run a sustainable income through my own business was needed, so to keep my career in football I thought to launch my own academy.
I created Sport Esprit Academy to accommodate children from all backgrounds and walks of life with one goal and that was to provide a level playing field for all. Sport Esprit Academy started with a few after school clubs in Northamptonshire, England and now we boast football activities and projects across England and recent projects in India.
Tell us about the scouting/coaching program you started in India?
I have always had a passion to launch some football incentives in India so last summer Sport Esprit Academy openly trialed over 2,500 players from across India and the winning player won a football scholarship at Brooke House Academy in the UK for a whole season.
How was the scouting/coaching program received in India?
Our programme was received very well and attracted a lot of interest from trialists and players. We also had some of the highest profiles from across India backing our project. Ajay Maken, then India’s sports minister, and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit were among those who appreciated and supported our programme.
Who got the scholarship? And what is part of the scholarship program for the boy?
The winner of the scholarship programme was Dilsher Singh Sandhu. Dilshere is a central midfield player who has a bit of everything in his game and performed consistantly at a very high standard throughout our selection process. Dilsher will train everyday and play weekly in the English National Academy League as well as undertake three ‘A Levels’ at the Brooke House Academy.