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Visit to a Bengal football club and observations on Indian football

Ron Sanyal is a FIFA ‘A’ License Coach and President of Brazilian Soccer Connection, Inc. (www.bscinc.org). He visited a rural Bengal football club last year and these are his observations from that visit.

Pic courtesy: Kolkatafootball.com

Indian football’s prospects lie within its village kids. There is hope, dream and determination in the eyes of these aspiring 12-14 years. I was having coffee with Swarnava and Apurup in Kolkata. We were talking about future of Bengal Football. They suggested that the player development clinic should begin from the villages around West Bengal, I agreed with them.

When I asked for their logic and reasons for their statement, they said: “Coach, seeing is believing.” They explained that there is a suburban place named Pandua in Hooghly district of West Bengal where the current Indian national football player Mr. Nabi came from. Then they told me that there is a dedicated coach affectionately called ‘Jethu’ (Bude da) who has sacrificed his good job and family to help these underprivileged children. He lives in one room of the club “Milan Sangha” of Pandua. This 70 years old bachelor football admirer cooks for the players on game days, stitches and repairs worn down footballs. 

Pic courtesy: Kolkatafootball.com

All of them suggested that I visit the Coach and Pandua village on a cold 2012 December Saturday. The journey began with Swarnava and Aparup escorting me from my South Kolkata residence. The train journey brought me back a lot of childhood memories. When we reached Pandua, Swarnava’s parents and grandma received us with hot tea and delicious breakfast. Then we visited the club and the coach known as “Jethu”. He was washing the football players’ jerseys and cooking for the players. He greeted me with a warm heart and warm hospitality.

He invited me to watch the football practice that was scheduled for Saturday afternoon. I agreed to visit. The club room was filled with trophies and shields. There was no room for extra trophies. So they were stored in an outside storage facility.

We arrived at a ground surrounded by green agricultural fields. About 100 plus kids showed up for training & drills. I was so impressed that the coach did not have to blow his whistle even one time, the kids knew the drills by heart. Then the teams split up by age group (12 and 14) and scrimmaged. I was amazed to see their discipline and their respect for the coach!

After that, I had opportunities to talk to the kids and talked about proper nutrition, physical exercise and Brazilian dribbling techniques. Also, I showed them some set plays. While we were leaving the field, they were still practising the “set plays” in the dark with utter enthusiasm. I told that I will be back in 2013 to check up on their progress and have a clinic for them and also gave 3 new footballs to the coach as a token. Also, our goal was ‘player development’ and placing them in good clubs in India or abroad. Brazilian Soccer Connection, Inc. (a non-profit) company will facilitate this project with the help of ‘Milan Sangha Club’.


Pic courtesy: Kolkatafootballs.com

Finally, I found the answer I was looking for after four years of searching in West Bengal for player development. God bless Bengal Football! We shall rise again and dominate the sport of football.

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