Spanish chance for Indian youngsters
In a far reaching move that is expected to catapult young Indian footballers into the hyper active Spanish playground, Delhi-based Sudeva Football Club acquired the third division European Club in the Spanish League C D Olimpic De Xativa. This is the first Indian club to get into the Spanish football scene.
Anuj Gupta, co-founder and chairman of Sudeva , said, “Indian football has, for long, needed a robust channel that gives young talent international exposure. By acquiring a club that has a first team, a reserve team, three U-19, two U-16 and multiple U-15 teams, Sudeva can now offer Indian players an established platform and gateway to Spanish football that will take them far beyond the current horizon of summer camps in Europe.”
Situated in Xativa, 25 minutes from the city of Valencia, the club’s current home is Campo de Futbol La Murta, a 9000-capacity stadium. Sudeva zeroed in on this club after a lot of deliberation and choices.
After India hosted the U-17 football World Cup last year, the thought of making the Indian players and teams as strong as foreign ones concretised and thus they started searching for clubs from Belgium, Germany and Spain.
Germany and Belgium were finally ruled out due to factors like weather, food and physicality mismatches. Indian subcontinent, it was perceived, was more conducive to Portuguese and Spanish cultures and would not give too many adjustability problems to Indian players.
“It is a step to build a roadmap that for Indian football to fully integrate with our sport at a global level,” Vijay Hakari (co-founder) said.
Sudeva FC plans to send young players to Spain two years down the line. Spanish language lessons for resident students of the Sudeva Training Academy are in progress.
Sudeva’s plan is to ensure that a minimum of 35-40 training matches be played by each player, irrespective of which team he represents, in the course of a single season. This will allow an exchange of knowledge, skills and practice at the coaching level too.
Indian players will get a chance to play with outside teams by hosting them in India and by registering themselves in the Spain. Initially, a batch of 30 players with 70% on partial scholarship and 30% on full scholarship would go to Spain for training and playing.
Plans are afoot to also take care of the education of these players by helping them get into schools.
While talking about the scholarship, Anuj said, “We are not serious for any sponsors to back us up but we are serious to fulfill the dreams of the players, if any sponsors come we will try and send every student on scholarship”.
One of the brilliant players in the group is Shubho Paul from Kolkata who holds the record of being the highest scorer in the U-13 I-League with 59 goals. “He will be travelling to Spain to train with the team,” said Gupta.
The organisers will also be doing trials in India form feeder academy, open trials, from NGOs, schools, I-league, ISL teams and pan India scouting with Spanish coaches for selection of only the very best talents for Xativa club as well as Sudeva program.
“Finally, strengthening this channel affords the chance for increased representation of Indian players in Spanish league and vice-versa wherein Spanish players will also play in the ISL and I-League,” Vijay concluded.