Arsenal 'guns' for talent in Mumbai

Kids ranging from six to 16 are being coached by an Arsenal Community Club coach in Mumbai.

updated: May 25, 2007 15:11 IST
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It's a very special football coaching camp in Mumbai. After all, it's not everyday that young budding footballers would have the benefit of being coached by an Arsenal Community Club coach.

Kids ranging from six to 16 will be attending three two-hour sessions with these experts. The four coaches are in the city for two weeks conducting a series of sessions.

"It'll be basic technique coaching. Because without that they can't build and become good players. Their first touch of the ball, their accurate passing, their speed all that kind of thing," said Paul Shipwright, head of Soccer Schools, Arsenal Club.

The brain behind this venture is Sporting Football. Besides the children, they have also invited the football coaches of Mumbai to learn from the Arsenal coaches so that the program can have some continuity and sustainability.

The company had done a similar project with Liverpool in Delhi earlier this year.

"We feel if we bring the professional coaches over to train the children they'll be trained in a structured manner so that's the whole purpose of bringing them here. There is stiff competition from cricket but I think the children are ready for another form of sport that they can participate in and learn from," said Dina Dattani, managing director of Sporting Football.

Each session includes a short warm-up followed by some technical training and fun games and a game to wrap up the session - a formula which seems to have worked both for the children and the coaches.

"At the game at the end we're always looking to see what we've taught in the session to be brought out in the game. As you know Arsenal are a famous passing club. We pass the ball better that any other team in the Premiership. So there's a big emphasis in our sessions on getting the children to pass the ball to each other," said Shipwright.

"I've enjoyed it a lot. All the sirs they joke a lot. It's a lot of fun," said Zeeshan, one of the trainees.

"Its different techniques, different ways to play. Lots of new stuff to learn," said Ski Davis Braganza, another trainee.

In the coming year the organisers plan to invite two more premier league clubs to conduct such coaching camps.