KOCHI: Twelve young footballers from the city are all set to fly to Indonesia to represent the city-based Quartz International Football Academy at the fourth edition of the annual Brazilian Soccer Schools (BSS) Cup which is being held in Bekasi.This is the maiden international trip for the academy that has three training centres in the city - at Aluva, Mala and Kakkanad. “As we have seen with India at the FIFA U-17 World Cup, international trips are vital for youth development and it is our ideology to use foreign exposure to hone the skills of our trainees,” said J B Mathews, academy CEO.
The U-12 squad flying to Bekasi will have 11 boys who will be led by a 14-year-old girl Gouri S Nair. “The tournament allows one girl in each team if she belongs to the next immediate age group. As Gouri was doing exceptionally well training with the boys, we picked her with the U-12 boys,” said Mathews.
As many as 12 teams will participate in the seven-a-side tournament that has 20-minute matches with rolling substitutions. The matches will be held on October 28 and 29 with Quartz expected to play at least eight matches during the two days. The trainees of the academy belong to Kakkanad Nava Nirman School, Mala Grace International School and Aluva Crescent Public School.
“We have created a network through which we get invites from tournaments across the world. We will also be sending the U-10 and U-15 teams for international competitions in the coming months,” said Mathews. He added the academy is on the verge of signing a MoU with a European and South American club to conduct their short-term training camps in India.
The academy which is part of the Kozhikode-based Quartz Football Club will also start training centres at Kadavanthra and Fort Kochi soon. It was launched by Argentina U-23 national team coach Julio Olarticoechea earlier this year.
“The academy and the parents of the trainees are currently bearing the expense of the trip. But we are in talks with a leading bank at the moment to sponsor the tour,” said Mathews. “This is only the start. We are not going to Indonesia with the intention of winning, but to give our kids an experience of competing with players from across the globe,” said Arun Thomas, its COO.