Cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar has announced that his Kerala Blasters FC will set up a residential football academy in Kerala with state government support.
The announcement came after the co-owner of the Indian Super League (ISL) franchise met Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his cabinet colleagues in state capital Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.
“Our aim is to develop 100 top footballers in the next five years and for that we will set up the right infrastructure for that. We are thankful to the Kerala government for their support to help the youngsters here to chase their dreams,” Sachin said.
At present Kerala Blasters are working with 40 schools, but Sachin said they are looking forward to working with more institiutions to nurture talent.
“The interest level among youngsters are very high in the state. We would like to work with more schools to catch them young,” he said.
The state government will offer the needed infrastructure support for the proposed academy, while Kerala Blasters will provide the entire technical support, Pinarayi said. He also thanked Sachin for heeding to the state government’s request to partner in the fight against drug abuse and alcoholism.
“With regard to the exact nature of his partnership, the coming days will reveal that, after discussions, which includes being a brand ambassador and such things,” said Vijayan.
At the news conference, Tendulkar also introduced the club’s new co-owners which include popular film actors Chiranjeevi and Akkineni Nagarjuna and film producer Arjun Aravind.
Kerala Blasters had a turbulent season in 2015 after being hit by financial constraints. With the infusion of new capital, the club is likely to enlist top players for the upcoming season.
The owners are in talks with Spanish coach Juan Ignacio Martinez. The 51 year old has had successful seasons with Spanish clubs like Levante, Almeira and Real Valladolid.
The Kochi based ISL franchise had English coaches for the first two seasons.