The popularity of football in India has never been higher than in it is today. With corporates and enthusiasts, alike, trying to capitalise on the ever growing popularity and make India a prominent footballing nation.
One such startup, part of Ekalavya Sports and Skill Development, has been attempting to secure corporate tie-ups in order to promote and groom emerging talents on a larger scale. It is owned by the former national player Kalyan Chaubey. He is a veteran of the game with 21 years of football experience under his belt, he brings to the table tonnes of valuable experience and an undying passion for the game.
The fact that he sold 2 of his houses to finance the extremely ambitious project of a mega football academy that will cost around Rs 12.5 Crores is a testament to his love for football and shows the lengths to which the man will go to establish a footballing culture in the country. The academy will be set up in Sambalpur, Odhisa.
“We are trying to bring in global practices for grooming talent for soccer at Sambalpur. In order to make the project sustainable, we are looking at shaking hands with corporates”- Chaubey to PTI.
Concerning the emergence of ISL, Chaubey had this to say: “With the advent of Indian Super League (ISL) there is a severe crisis for quality players for the game and we have devised a business model for corporates which ranges from branding a football academy to sponsorships of players”
Reportedly the Sambalpur academy will possibly be India’s largest football academy and provide state-of-the-art tech and facilities. It is speculated to be the largest football academy in India in terms of size as well. It targets at accommodating up to 90 players a year.
“But we will groom 30 to 40 semi-skilled 19-year-old players engaged in under 19 clubs for free. They would be selected through our internal selection process. We would train them for two years to turn them ISL ready professional players while the rest can get training as per pay and play model
“Considering these players command the minimum annual fee as players in ISL, corporates will able to make a healthy profit from transfer fees for sponsoring these free players during the training period besides branding” explained Chaubey.
According to Kalyan Chaubey, sponsoring players for transfer fees when they turn professional is still a concept that is still foreign to India. In order to bolster their technical capabilities, the academy is looking for a collaboration with a top International club. The negotiations for the collaboration are on-going and have reached an advanced stage.
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