Moving forward with FC Kolkata: Interview with manager Wolfgang Mueller
The first impression you get of FC Kolkata is that of a bunch of determined boys, walking on a dusty road with hope in their eyes. They train in Kolkata, and were formed to give street kids an opportunity to play football.
On talking to their manager Wolfgang Mueller, I observed that they aren’t just another fly-by-night football program. They are a team with a purpose. They have in their ranks a FIFA Licensed Youth Coach from France and a coach from the Honduras which would gives them a distinct European style of play. Here are some excerpts from the interaction I had where the German opened up about his team and their battle against poverty.
Siddharth Sharma : Are you planning to make FC Kolkata a professional team, in the future that is?
Wolfgang Mueller : Ah yes. Our boys are growing up to be adults and U-14, U-12 we have right now. I think we will get a good team of 13-15 players who can play professional football and that is good for them, because they would have another chance for a career and life because they have no family to fall back on. They have no support otherwise, so somehow they need to learn to stand on their own two feet as soon as they’re adults. Hence I think this is a good chance for them.
Siddharth Sharma : How did you attract a coach from the Honduras?
Wolfgang Mueller: That was more or less by chance. There are quite a few foreigners coming from all over the world, and we studied Bengali at a university here, and that is how we met our coach from the Honduras. So it was a chance meet and we have another coach from France but he’s only there during the winter, and he’s a FIFA Licensed Youth Coach. So we have an absoulte expert on that.
Siddharth Sharma : So that’s good.
Wolfgang Mueller : Yeah, and he’s retired now in France and comes every winter to train our boys, so that time we normally have some football camps in Puri and other places.
Siddharth Sharma : Now I don’t know if you know but the Indian U-16 team just qualified for the AFC U-16 Championship and we beat some teams badly. Did you send any of your boys for the U-16 state selections for that side?
Wolfgang Mueller: Unfortunately no, but tonight we play a team that lost 2-0 to the Indian team. So tonight we will play an exhibition game with them to see where we stand.
We then managed to observe the team’s pre match warm-up and then caught some of them in action, and one player caught my eye. We then realised that Mr Mueller had earlier told us about this boy, and that he had been selected to attend an FC Bayern Camp in Munich in 2008 through a talent hunt conducted by the club in 2008 in Kolkata .
The Club’s official website is Fc-Kolkata.org
With inputs from Suyash Upadhyaya in New Delhi. Pictures by Akshat Dwivedi for Sportskeeda.Com in New Delhi.Published 16 Oct 2011, 19:30 IST