Indian kids revel in unique exposure provided by Bayern Munich and adidas

10 Indian youngsters headed to Munich earlier this month

Football in India is growing rapidly with many young players aspiring to turn professionals, and adidas as a brand has been constantly taking many initiatives to nurture grassroots football in India and building new avenues to inspire the youth.

In December 2016, adidas held the FC Bayern Youth Cup India 2017 where German World Cup Winner and FC Bayern legend Paul Breitner handpicked 10 best players from schools across India to form the team that would represent India and partake in the FC Bayern Youth Cup World Finals held in Germany from May 18th to 21st, 2017.

The 10 players to play in the World Finals, namely, Utkarsh Pradeepsingh Rawat, Abhishekh Shakya, Akshunna Tyagi, Harshit Pandey, Akash Pradhan, Birjit Meetei Soibam, Parthib Sundar Gogoi, Aditya Pattani, Omarson Singh Leitanthem, Shehbaz Ali Dhot, assembled in Delhi on May 17th.

The handpicked 10 enjoyed their stint at Bayern thouroughly, and here is their perspective on the entire tournament and their trip to Germany,

Q. How did it feel to represent India at the World Finals? A. We are extremely excited to be a part of Team India. It is a very big opportunity and exposure for us to represent the country at such a prestigious tournament. The fact that we were the top 10 players selected from 300+ schools in India at the FC Bayern Youth Cup 2017 is an achievement for us.

Visiting Germany and playing at the tournament was a very remarkable achievement that we have received and we will cherish it for all our lives. Our strategy was to play like a team, be united and play selflessly for the nation. Team spirit and unity are key essentials for a victory. We have received a lot of guidance and supervision by our coaches in terms of tactics and techniques, and are grateful for the support extended by everyone.

The Indian representation at the FC Bayern Youth Cup World Finals

Q. Any special things/practice you are doing for the tournament? A. We had been putting in a lot of hard work to practice and prepare ourselves for the tournament. We spent hours on a daily basis under professional guidance in religiously playing football, developing our skills and making our game better. We all assembled together in Delhi at adidas the Base before flying to Munich and had our sessions with the coaches to prep for the finals. At Munich too, we were trained at the FC Bayern training ground with teams from other nations.

Players under the watch of Bayern Munich youth coaches

Q. What kind of support did adidas extend to the team? A. adidas has given us this platform to participate in the FC Bayern Youth Cup World Finals. Through adidas, we were exposed to a legend like Paul Breitner who had given us guidance on the sport during his visit and scouted us basis our performances. His tips on football were immensely motivating and helpful. adidas and FC Bayern have made this trip possible for us. The exposure and opportunity received were something we will always cherish. From the boots to our jerseys, and other football essentials, as well as world-class training at a facility like the Base, were all offered to us by adidas and FC Bayern.

Team India at Marienplatz

Q. How was your experience in Munich? A. It was one of the most memorable experiences of our lives. Representing India at such a prestigious tournament, competing with other nations and also meeting world class players and legends of football made it a complete experience. The Allianz Arena is a great ground and to play on it was so good. If we have such pitches in India our level of play and game will be even better.

The Indian youngsters caught up with legend Xabi Alonso

Q. What were some of the iconic moments at Munich that you would cherish all your lives? A. Some iconic moments were- · Training at the Sabener Strasse (Bayern's first team training centre) with the coaches from FC Bayern Munich · Watching some of the first team players train- Mats Hummels was one of them · Meeting Xabi Alonso and David Alaba at the training centre · Watching FC Bayern Munich play at the Allianz Arena, witnessing the farewell for Xabi Alonso, Philip Lahm and watching FC Bayern Munich lift the Bundesliga · Playing at the Allianz Arena and getting the opportunity to change in the first team player locker rooms before the tournament kick-off

Team India with David Alaba

Q. What did you learn from the tournament? A. We definitely do have a better understanding of the style of play of the other international teams like Germany and Austria amongst others. This will benefit us in the future and help us compete better.

Germany, Thailand, Austria, SIngapore, USA and China also participated in the FC Bayern Youth Cup apart from India. India, USA and China couldn't make it past the group stages, while Thailand defeated Austria 1-0 in the final to lift the trophy. Hosts Germany finished third.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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