Football is an art, like dancing is an art- but only when it's well done does it become an art"- Arsene Wenger, manager, Arsenal Football Club.
This beautiful game has many technical and tactical aspects to it, something that one can learn by sheer practice. Though Bangalore has a thriving football culture, the avenues for nurturing young talent are few and far between. Hence, to create awareness about the sport, a bunch of engineers decided to start something called Footieculture.
“The idea struck us over a session of tea, when we were discussing how to host good quality football matches in the city,” says Preetham Rao, one of the founders.
An industrial engineer from R V College, Preetham Rao used to work with Amazon as a risk analyst. He started playing football eight years ago and when in college, he was part of his college football team and had even participated in state-level football tournaments.
“Football was a big part of my life then. In college, I played football every single day,” he recalls.
The football scene in Bangalore is much more popular than what it was back then, says Preetham.
“We realised this when we conducted a football tournament last year called the Rebels Cup at HAL grounds which saw a participation of over 64 teams from the city. There is a huge following for European football in Bangalore. Nowadays, even a 10-year-old kid follows the sport and wouldn’t mind staying up till 1 in the morning to watch a Champions League game during school days. The love for the game is there. The need of the hour is to nurture this interest and give a substantial platform for these kids to follow their dreams.”
Footieculture started off its operations in Bangalore by screening football matches to engage the football-loving crowd.
“Match screenings were only for the IPL. Not many places used to showcase football matches live. We thought this would be the best step to take.”
One year since, they have held professional tournaments – open, corporate and inter-school – and football camps called Footiecamps. Preetham adds, “The head coach is Nixon, who is a former Indian football team player and holds a coaching licence from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). We have even bought a club called Rebels FC which is in the Bangalore 'C' Division. A select few talented children from our camps are given a chance to play in the club at the Karnataka State Football Association (KSFA).”
One of the players, K V Adithya, who played for Rebels FC, recently got selected to play in the 'A' Division of the Association, Preetham adds.
The team is gearing up to launch the Footieculture Academy in August at Jalahalli and Nagarbhavi. Apart from this, they are in talks with a club from Spain to design their football coaching curriculum.
With the FIFA World Cup 2014 on its way, they have plans. “We are telecasting matches in venues like Doff, Humming Tree and others so that the fans can get together and support their favourite team. We are also conducting a corporate tournament called 'Foot and Tie' which is going to be the biggest corporate tournament the city has seen.”