CPD FOOTBALL | THE BLOG | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Rahul Dravid and Sunil Chhetri hand scholarships to Boost Play The Pros winners

Bengaluru FC skipper Sunil Chhetri and club ambassador Rahul Dravid hand over the scholarships to Guru Kiran and Monica N. during the BFC Boost Play The Pros event held at the Bangalore Football Stadium, on Saturday. (Photo courtesy: Bengaluru FC)

Two winners of a city-wide talent identification program were handed year-long scholarships to the BFC Soccer Schools by former India cricket captain and Bengaluru FC ambassador Rahul Dravid and club skipper Sunil Chhetri at the Boost Play The Pros event, at the Bangalore Football Stadium, on Saturday. Ten-year-old Guru Kiran and 13-year-old Monica N. will train under BFC coaches for a year after being hand-picked by the club’s youth coaching staff.

The event also involved Dravid and Chhetri interacting with around 200 young enthusiasts, handing them pointers on aspects around fitness and mental toughness in sport. The children apart, the event even had a session for parents, educating them on aspects of sport like nutrition and psychology.

Speaking on the occasion, Dravid said, “It’s fantastic to see the kind of interest the kids and even parents are taking in sport. There are so many aspects to sport and events like these will go a long way in educating children from a young age. A strong grassroots development plan determines how successful your senior or national team ends up becoming.”

Boost and BFC had joined hands earlier this year to develop football talent at the grassroots level, organizing an Inter-School Soccer Shield which saw over 60 schools from the city participating across three age categories. Boost and BFC also conducted a coach education program where football coaches were given an opportunity to take part in the AFC ‘C’ License course which was conducted for the first time in the city.

The winning teams from each category of the School Shield got the chance to participate in Saturday’s event and even had a little kick about with Chhetri, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Udanta Singh and other Bengaluru FC players.

“At a time when there is no dearth of options for kids in terms of entertainment, it’s heartening to see more than 200 kids in their football kits coming out to play. This platform is a fantastic one that youngsters will keep benefiting from. I’m also sure that the Inter-School Soccer Shield is one that will grow in numbers and strength in the coming years,” said Sunil Chhetri, Club and national team captain said.

Speaking on association, Vikram Bahl, Area Marketing Lead, GSK Consumer Healthcare said, “A growing child requires adequate stamina and energy to win every battle in their life. Boost for over 40 years now has been working on this quotient to help kids play a bigger game. Through our varied associations we try to bring the energy proposition into play. With football gaining momentum in India, we recognized the need to form an eminent association to nurture young talent. This association successfully helped us to bring to life our communication platform ‘Play the Bigger Game’ by providing kids an opportunity to ‚Play with the Pros’”.

(Bengaluru FC)