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

Teenage duo join India’s search for young QPR’s Stars

Queens Park Rangers

Two youngsters will earn a once-in-a-lifetime trip to west London this Christmas as QPR’s Academy set off on a scouting mission to India for the festive period.

Richard Allen, Head of Academy, is one of two coaches casting their eye over the country’s largest football community tournament to select the winners of this year’s record-breaking Mumbai Soccer Challenge (MSC).

The Championship – taking place for the fifth successive year – has served as a talent hunt during October and November, whittling down 30 talented youngsters from thousands shortlisted for a coaching clinic exclusively by the R’s coaching teams later this season.

The MSC was set up by Programme Director Sanjiv Saran Mehra, in conjunction with Rangers vice-chairman Amit Bhatia, Milind Deora, a Member of Parliament from the South Mumbai constituency, and Andy Evans, CEO of QPR in the Community Trust.

“It’s a great opportunity for QPR to do some work in Mumbai but also to give this opportunity to the boys to come over and spend some time with the academy,” Allen told

“We’ve been doing it for a number of years and it’s great for QPR to be in a position to be able to give people in Mumbai that experience again.”

This year, the tournament has welcomed a record 5,000 students from over 130 schools representing over 600 teams from under-10 to under-16 levels, making it the biggest yet.

It follows the success of 2013, when the five lucky winners enjoyed a visit to the club’s Harlington training ground, meeting Harry Redknapp during a three-week training programme with the R’s Academy.

“When we had the boys over last year it was an equally great experience for our boys,” Allen added. “It gave them a different perspective and something of a reality check that they’re at a big club, going to be professional footballers and all that comes with it.

“It’s quite humbling to have these boys come from next to nothing.”

Allen will be joined by David Baker, Head of Education and Welfare, between 27th-30th December as the R’s duo aim to inspire change off the pitch as well as on it.

“For the first time we’re doing some coaching education so there’s some local coaches coming to watch,” Allen added. “We’ll do a presentation and take them through our coaching methodology.

“India is an emerging football nation and it’s an opportunity for us to work with their coaches to help them hopefully produce better players in the long term.”