Hyderabad: Eric Benny Sports Management company, run by former Indian player and ex manager of the Indian team Eric Benny, has collaborated with Telangana Football Association (TFA) to develop the game of football in the State from grassroots. In this regard, the company has selected five school children -Shaliyanth Reddy, Mayank, Aryan, Saranga Pagadala and Smarna Ravela – from the city for a training stint with a German football club.
According to Eric, the boys were scouted from schools such as Glendale International School and Oakridge International School and the children were selected based on their performance. Elaborating on his plans of reviving the game in the State Eric said, “There is so much raw talent in the State. If the players are groomed and worked with a clear vision, they can be our future stars. My aim is to work with the talented kids and make them competitive. I believe in giving exposure to the talented kids. That helps them develop their skills more. If we invest right number of hours with sound technical coaching, we can produce champions.”
Elaborating on his plans he further added, “My aim is to make talented footballers self-sustainable. They will be able to play in youth leagues in Europe as well. A maximum of 15 players will be selected for the Europe training programme in which the players have to bear the month-long expenses with 100 Euros per day. From next year, we will take the help of TFA and conduct scouting in rural areas as well.”
The Eric Benny and Co will also conduct a 4×4 football league in the State to promote the game from grassroots.
TFA president Md Ali Rafat said that the city of Nizams was the hub of the Indian football in the olden days and the game has suffered because of the political turmoil in the association. “We have more than half of the Indian teams that participated in 1948, 52, 56 and 60 Olympics. But there was no football in the last 13 to 14 years because of the power politics. The game has seen revival in last three years. We are determined to change the game’s fate. We promise our full cooperation to Eric for the game’s development,” he said.
TFA secretary G Palguna also batted for financial assistance to the game. “We do not have financial support either from State government or All India Football Federation (AIFF). We need more facilities and stadia in twin cities and also in the districts,” he added.