Bengaluru FC announces plans of residential academy in Bellary

The reigning I-League champion Bengaluru FC outlined its plans of a full-fledged residential academy at the JSW Township in Vijayanagar, Bellary.

Bengaluru FC Head of Youth Development John Kila (centre) with Chief Technical Officer Mandar Tamhane (L), and COO Mustafa Ghouse (R) in Bengaluru, on Wednesday.   -  Special Arrangement

At the unveiling of its new Head of Youth Development, John Kila, here on Wednesday, the reigning I-League champion Bengaluru FC outlined its plans of a full-fledged residential academy at the JSW Township in Vijayanagar, Bellary.

Under the stewardship of the 51-year-old Dutchman, who spent close to seven years at the West African Football Academy in Ghana, besides other stints in Japan and New Zealand, the club will conduct trials in the under-16 and under-18 categories in five different locations – Bengaluru, Kerala, Mizoram, Punjab and Chandigarh.

The shortlisted players will then go through a final round of trials in Bengaluru after which they will relocate to the academy in Bellary. Day boarding camps for under-14, under-12, under-10 and under-8 categories will also be held in Bengaluru.

“Since the club's inception, we have always focussed on youth and development,” said COO Mustafa Ghouse. “We have seen that [development] in the number of boys who have come through the ranks into the first team. It’s something we want to further enhance and that’s where John’s experience will put us in the right footing.”

“It’s a privilege to be here,” said Kila. “I like the challenge and it’s great. If we can select 25 odd in each group and train them, may be at the end of two or three years, we will be able to bring the first group of players who can start in the first team.”

The fully-funded program will provide for the players' accommodation, education and nutrition. The academy will have licensed coaches, physiotherapists, professionals in strength and conditioning and sports science. The facility will comprise a full-length sand-based football pitch equipped with floodlights, a gymnasium and a swimming pool.

The Bengaluru leg of the trials will be held from July 23 to 30 at the Bangalore Football Stadium and those interested can register and obtain further information at www.bengalurufc.com. The dates of trials at the other venues will be announced shortly. The entire process will take around two months to complete with the first set of players moving into the academy by the third week of September.