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

Indian youngsters set for Celtic experience

Mahindra Youth Football Challenge 2012

The best U14 footballers from the champion school teams of six major Indian cities are currently displaying their skills at the 2012 Mahindra Youth Football Challenge Inter-City Leg at the Bangalore Football Stadium. The tournament is held on the newly laid artificial turf under the aegis of the Bangalore District Football Association (BDFA) from April 19 to 24, 2012, while the best kids could earn a chance to train with Scottish giants Celtic FC.

The six winning schools were decided through Intra-City tournaments in Bangalore, Delhi, Goa, Kerala, Kolkata and Mumbai. A total of 250 schools took part in the Intra-City tournaments and the best school teams qualified for the finals in Bangalore. The six schools participating in the Mahindra Youth Football Challenge are St. Aloysius High School (Bangalore), CRPF School (Delhi), St. Britto’s High School (Goa), MSP HSS (Kerala), Pandua S.B.S.H.S. (Kolkata) and Don Bosco High School (Mumbai).

The school teams and their coaches had the chance to take part in a special four-day coaching clinic by Celtic FC as part of the 2012 Mahindra Youth Football Challenge. The clinic was conducted by Celtic’s Academy coaches Mark Reid, Jose Romero, Mark Tobin and Tom McKay. The six teams trained individual skills, techniques and tactical aspects of the game at the Bangalore Football Stadium.

The Mahindra Group reached a partnership with the Scottish giants, who will take on the responsibility of training and developing young talent identified through the initiative.

“Celtic Football Club is honoured and pleased at this opportunity to coach the best under 14 footballing talent from six major cities. Our coaches will work hard to try and impart the maximum amount of football knowledge to the coaches and players of the six teams in the coaching clinic,” said Peter Lawwell, Chief Executive of Celtic FC.

“We also hope to identify the best talent, who will get a chance to travel and train with Celtic Football Club,” Lawwell stated at a press conference held at the Bangalore District Football Association office.

A total of 22 players will be selected for another intense four-day coaching clinic based on their performances in the Mahindra Youth Football Challenge Inter-City leg. The clinic will be conducted by the above named Celtic coach from April 25 to 28. The best players will be picked to travel to Scotland and undergo a ten day training stint at the Celtic Football Club Academy. The names of these players will be announced at the conclusion of the final camp on April 28.

Bishal Harizan and Jayanta Mondal from Kolkata and Mani Maran from Bangalore, had emerged the best three footballers from last year’s edition of the Mahindra Youth Football Challenge. These three boys were picked after the Inter-City Challenge and got an opportunity to avail a ten-day intensive coaching camp in Glasgow with Celtic.

Bishal, Jayanta and Mani spent fruitful days at Celtic FC, where they got an opportunity to watch two Scottish Premier League involving Celtic FC including the legendary “Old Firm” derby at Ibrox Park against Glasgow Rangers.

Their training there involved individual technique training, multiple sessions of Sports Science Testing, learning the right warm up techniques with the U19 team, and daily coaching sessions with the Celtic U15 team. Bangalore’s Mani Maran was even selected to represent the Celtic U16 team to play against Monash FC from Melbourne (Australia), capping a successful and satisfying experience for the three lads.