Indian football icon Baichung Bhutia has done a number of first's for his country as a footballer on and off the field. Baichung has been looking at ways to help football in India and on Saturday Bhai will be doing another first by launching the first centre of the Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools in New Delhi. Baichung is starting his football schools in partnership with "Football by Carlos Queiroz".
Carlos Queiroz, a renowned coach from Portugal, will give technical inputs on coaching for the boys who come and train at the football school. Queiroz will depute two coaches to come to India to train the children all year through. Queiroz is best known to have been the national coach of Portugal, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates besides coaching Real Madrid and being the understudy of Alex Ferguson twice at Manchester United; but also being the coach to develop the golden generation of Portuguese talent with the likes of Luis Figo and Rui Costa.
The idea of starting such a football school came to Baichung as there is a lack of proper training opportunities for children interested in football, especially for those would might be interested to take up the sport seriously and try to become professionals. But initially the football school is intended to enable kids to play football and have fun.
New Delhi is only the start and Baichung hopes to spread the Bhaichung Bhutia Football School in the coming years across the country. Baichung hopes to spread the football school to Noida, Mumbai and Bangalore in a first wave of expansion, but it all depends if he can get the necessary land or a property on long term lease to use and develop for the coaching sessions.
Talking to the media ahead of the launch Baichung said, "It will be a non-residential school and I will get a ground in Delhi on lease. 30 per cent of children will be from underprivileged section and the other 70 per cent will have to pay fee. There will be tie-ups with some schools and NGOs to get the children. For the underprivileged ones, NGOs like Magic Bus will provide them."
"It will not be a school which will be run to provide professional football but one which will encourage children to take up football and enjoy it. They will also learn the basics of football. The talented ones will be drafted into the professional academy, which I am opening in Kolkata and Sikkim with (Bollywood actor) John Abraham," Baichung added.
Nike, for whom Baichung is a brand ambassador, has come on board as kit sponsor to provide footballs and playing kits to the children. Initially Baichung is set to fund some portion of the football school himself, but he hopes that sponsors will come forward to make the football schools self-funded along with the fees collected from the paying children.