NEW DELHI: Legendary coach and currently the FIFA Chief of Global Football Development, Mr A rsène Wenger, is all set to visit India in the second week of October to finalise the setting-up of a central academy in India jointly with the AIFF, according to Federation President Mr Kalyan Chaubey.
Mr Chaubey and AIFF Secretary General Dr Shaji Prabhakaran had a meeting with Mr Wenger, Mr Steven Martens, Technical Director, FIFA, and Mr Ulf Schott, Head of High-Performance Programmes, FIFA, in Sydney, Australia, on August 19, 2023, Saturday, to decide on the collaboration between the FIFA and the AIFF to launch an academy for U-13 boys and girls, the name of which will be finalised later.
Mr Chaubey said after the meeting, “I am glad to say that we are on the verge of setting up a state-of-the-art centralised academy in India, along with FIFA, with Mr Arsène Wenger playing a key role in the whole setup. I am sure that with his experience and our industriousness, we can set the ball rolling for India to produce future stars.”
The aforementioned academy will not function in a standalone manner; rather, it will be supported by around four or five other feeder academies, thus making it a network.
Mr Wenger is expected to make an official announcement of the same via a virtual press conference in September, following which, he is set to come to India in the second week of October to work on all other details of the proposed academy, Mr Chaubey informed.
Dr Prabhakaran said, "We are eagerly looking forward to welcoming Arsène Wenger to India for this very important project. I have no doubt that he will have a significant impact on developing elite players in India, and we can safely say that his joining hands to produce top talents in India means that the professor is convinced about our country’s potential.
"He is an inspiring figure, and with his involvement, we can excite and engage millions of youths like never before, and we will have a few diamonds who will shine on the global stage. Finally, our project diamond is taking shape as envisioned in our strategic roadmap, Vision 2047.”
Mr Chaubey also said: “The U-13 Youth League and Sub-Junior National Championships will play an important role in spotting talents and setting up the academies. We want to provide more opportunities to our member associations and youngsters as well to organise themselves for the state-level trials so that each state association can field their best possible team for the U-13 Youth League.”
(Inputs from press release)