Borussia Dortmund's Asia Pacific Managing director Suresh Letchmanan belive that the club's official partnership with ISL's Hyderabad FC can deliver outstanding Indian talent, the coaches at Borussia Dortmund would 'find a way' to get them to Dortmund to train under them.
Letchmanan was speaking during an exclusive Facebook live interview with Sportskeeda on October 28 moderated by Taruka Srivastav.
He also revealed how close the club's legends team came to touring India in March, before the pandemic enforced major lockdowns worldwide.
When asked about Dortmund's activities in India, Letchmanan said, "I think football would probably be, to a certain extent one of the biggest sports (in India in the future), I’m not sure if it will compete with cricket but it would certainly give it a run for its money, but I believe there is so much potential with these young kids as far as football is concerned.
At the same time, I also think that there is room for improvement and development, in terms of garnering and developing young talents. And that’s where Hyderabad FC comes in.
We’ve seen how the ISL has grown tremendously in the last five to six years, but you need an infrastructure for youth. Hyderabad FC also had a vision to find ways where they could find youngsters from their own academy slowly growing and developing and playing for the first team (like Borussia Dortmund)."
Letchmanan then went on to speak about how Hyderabad FC's club colours - black and yellow, are also Borussia Dortmund's, making it a nice fit.
He added that the German club also hopes to share its ideas in terms of fan engagement with the club.
When asked if people could expect to see Indian youngsters at the club, Letchmanan said, "It’s difficult to say that you’ll have someone from Hyderabad FC who’ll eventually play for Borussia Dortmund, and again, we are in a realistic world because at the end of the day what is important for us is to support the kids. But I think what we can do is give the kids a chance to train in Dortmund and that’s what we are hoping to achieve. I can honestly tell you that our coaches will be there to monitor, to assess, and if they are really top talents coming from this programme (with Hyderabad FC), then I’m sure our coaches will find a way to get some of them over to Dortmund to train, to learn the philosophy. When you’re in the academy you’re at a completely different level altogether. You’re training and competing with the European kids, which obviously apart from size and posture, their ability levels are also something where you have to have a way to challenge them. Obviously your food, nutrition, all of this comes in to play. But if there are talented kids out there from this programme, rest assured we will find a way to bring them to Germany to train."
Borussia Dortmund and Hyderabad FC announced a strategic partnership in April 2020 for an initial two years, with the option to extend it till 2025.
The development of youth players is at the core of the partnership, along with exchanging best practices across various spheres.
Letchmanan spoke about the various challenges thrown up by the Covid-19 pandemic for club operations off the pitch, and threw some light on just how close the club was to touring India with their legends team.
Asked if the club was actually planning to tour India with the legends team earlier in 2020, Letchmanan said, "Oh of course, you're right. But the situation didn’t allow us. We were very close to actually coming to India. The discussions took place and we were ready to jump on board and come down to India, which we’ve never done before. We had a team of 15 players, notably a couple of world cup winners and Champions League winners, so we were actually bringing a strong team. At the same time we wanted to get close to the fans, we wanted to get close to the media, we wanted to find ways to connect with the people of India, we want to share footballing stories, success stories, engage in knowledge transfer.
We were looking to achieve this but unfortunately we couldn’t (because of the pandemic situation) . But I am hoping we can do this again. I would just say this has been postponed rather than cancelled."
Meanwhile, Hyderabad FC are gearing up for the upcoming season of the ISL with new coach Manuel Marquez Roca at the helm, after coach Albert Roca left the club before the start of pre-season training after receiving an offer to join Ronald Koeman's coaching team at FC Barcelona.Published 29 Oct 2020, 02:34 IST