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

13-year old Kshitij Kumar Singh selected to play for Dutch Club NEC Nijmegen

Kshitij Kumar Singh (Photo courtesy: Reliance Foundation Youth Sports)

Reliance Foundation is actively involved in promoting multiple sports in India through a number of largescale grassroots initiatives, with focus on developing young talent. The initiatives such as Reliance Foundation Youth Sports (RFYS) Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC) and the Reliance Foundation Junior NBA programme have together impacted the lives of more than 7 million children in India across multiple sports.

RFYC started in 2015 and has amplified ISL clubs’ grassroots initiatives to spot talented children from across the country between the ages of 11 and 14. Reliance Foundation then offers the most talented and deserving children full-time residential scholarships which also takes care of their education at the Reliance Foundation School. Today there are 48 scholars in the RFYC Programme at Navi Mumbai.

Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC) has achieved another milestone as thirteen year old Kshitij Kumar Singh has been selected to play for NEC Nijmegen’s Under 15 youth team which competes at the highest level in the Netherlands.

Last season’s find, Kshitij Kumar Singh, is a prodigy whose love for football started at the age of 6 initially at Bhaichung Bhutia Academy and then at FCB Escola where he excelled consistently. The forward was an early talent to be spotted by Piet Hubers, Technical Director of ISL Grassroots at the Delhi Dynamos Scouting Festival for RFYC. Kshitij has already scored 31 goals and provided 25 assists in 29 competitive and friendly games since June 2016 when he joined RFYC.

The Holland bound player who left for his new club on Friday the 5th of August, had been to the Netherlands for two rounds of trials with PSV Eindhoven and NEC Nijmegen earlier this year before his selection in the NEC youth team. The talented teenager has impressed coaches and fellow players alike with his skills and dedication to the game. He has regularly been performing at the top level nationally and even plays in higher age group tournaments for Reliance Foundation Young Champs.

N.E.C. Nijmegen, founded in 1900, is a Professional Dutch Football club from Holland that currently plays in the Dutch Eredivisie. The club has a rich history of producing talented players & its youth academy teams play at the highest level in the Dutch Youth Leagues & compete against the top European clubs in international tournaments. The club has featured notable names such as Guus Hiddink (Current Men’s Dutch National Team Coach), Jasper Cillessen (Men’s Dutch National Team & AFC Ajax) & Jeremain Lens (Men’s Dutch National Team & FC Dynamo Kyiv).

Speaking on his selection to NEC Nijmegen, Kshitij said, “I’m very excited to play in Holland with the best players and teams. I want to thank all my coaches and fellow players at RF Young Champs where I am motivated to perform better continuously. I want to thank Mrs. Ambani especially for all her support and for providing me the opportunity and belief to be the best and play in Holland. I would love to play for the Indian National Team in the future.”

Nita Ambani, Founder and Chairperson, Reliance Foundation, said, “We, at RFYC, are extremely proud of the progress made by the 48 champions. Children like Kshitij Kumar Singh are the future of Indian football. He is very dedicated and disciplined at this young age which makes him a force to reckon with on the ground. We are sure he will pave a way for more scouting from foreign countries in India as well as increase the belief among players here to play in the best leagues in the World.”

(Reliance Foundation Youth Sports)