Salgaocar FC in association with Bundesliga club, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim organised a Youth Football Clinic for the club’s most talented Under-16, U-18 and U-19 players at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco. Present on the occasion were former stalwart of the club and Arjuna awardee, Bruno Coutinho; TSG 1899 Hoffenheim captain, Andreas Beck; Arunava Chaudhari, football consultant and journalist; and Vivek & Swati Salgaocar, Vice Presidents, Salgaocar FC.
The Germans touched down in the country on Monday, May 12 as part of a one-week long tour organised by Switzerland-based Adamant Sports Management AG with the support of Presenting Partners – the German Bundesliga and IT-major SAP. The clinic lasted for about two hours and was followed by a press conference at the same venue. TSG 1899 Hoffenheim are on their maiden tour to India and are the back of a very creditable top half finish in the Bundesliga, arguably the most competitive league in the world. En route they managed a noteworthy 3-3 draw away to Champions Bayern Munich.
Andreas Beck, captain of the German side was all praise for the boys. “These young boys are extremely talented. There is a lot of potential in this country and we are extremely delighted to have made the trip to India and Goa and been part of this clinic,” he commented.
Salgaocar FC, have over the years focused on their youth development system and it is no surprise therefore that the club’s youth development system is widely regarded as one of the best in the country. This is evident from the number of players who have over the years come through the ranks to eventually play for the first team. Whilst more recently with the introduction of the AIFF club licensing criteria, most clubs are required to pay attention to their youth development, at Salgaocar FC it’s always been extending beyond the bare minimum, as far as youth development is concerned.
Salgaocar FC Vice-President, Ms. Swati Salgaocar had the following to say. “Since its inception over a decade ago, the Salgaocar FC Youth Program has been one of the best in India and we are constantly working to improve it. At SFC, our youth and community programs are an integral part of the Club – we have been doing it long before the AIFF licensing criteria made it mandatory and even today we are extending greatly beyond what we are required to do. We are dedicated to grassroots development and have always believed that one should put one’s money where one’s heart is.”
She further went on to add, “Today’s football clinic with TSG Hoffenheim 1899 is a great culmination of our efforts and we are very fortunate to get this kind of support from another football club who shares our dedication towards community outreach and youth development.”
“Goa has produced great footballers in the past, but in order to continue to do so we felt it was very important to expose our boys to the best international training practices and this opportunity with Hoffenheim has provided just that,” she concluded.
Bruno Countinho, former Salgaocar stalwart and Arjuna Awardee had this to say. “The kids of today are privileged to have the amount of exposure they do and credit to Salgaocar FC, a club I played for and continue to stand by and admire, for offering their youngsters this once in a lifetime opportunity.”
The past year has been a turning point in the Program as the club has moved towards professionalising it, integrating it better with the senior team and involving the community on a larger scale.
Football fans addicted to social media will be able to follow and to be part of the football extravaganza on the various platforms with the use of the official hashtag #1899INDIA.