KOCHI: Being a football fanatic, Ebin Rose started coaching even as he was playing the sport professionally as part of the Travancore Titanium team. “I used to coach kids in the evenings around the locality I used to live near Vizhinjam. Most of them had no football boots to play. This often reminded me of my childhood,” Edin said.
Fast forward to now, he coaches aspiring players and co-founded Kovalam FC, a football club in 2009. The club’s new stadium was recently inaugurated in Arumanoor. Howver, the journey wasn’t easy, Ebin had to struggle a lot to run the club during its initial phase.
“I used the money I got from my friends and relatives”. Kovalam FC was the first football club from Vizhinjam area which is a hotspot for tourists.
Ebin credits P J Mathew, a former player and ex-army man, with changing the fortunes of the club. “When I approached him with my idea of making Kovalam FC a professionally run club, he readily agreed to develop hostel facilities and the stadium. His vision has gone a long way in helping the club reach its current position. We are a part of Kerala Premier League, the same league which hosts the Kerala Blasters and Gokulam FC plays,” noted Ebin.
As Kovalam FC’s coach, he holds an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) B level license and has attended FIFA’s advanced youth coaching course. Ebin has big plans on the anvil for the club.
“Most of the players in the team are from coastal areas, but we are planning to include players from the entire state,” he added. The club’s new stadium has been constructed as per FIFA standards. According to Ebin, Chris Abel, grassroots development coach of the English Premier League team Arsenal had earlier visited the stadium to check it’s facilities.
“We have made the hostel and stadium as per specifications. If all goes well, Arsenal will send two of its youth level coaches to train our players for six months every year,” said the enthused coach.
Ebin is hopeful that the club will be able to participate in the Indian Super League (ISL) or I-League in the coming years. As a former football player, Ebin expressed his hope of a bright future for the sport in India. “As I came from a poor family, I could not have imagined playing in a league like the I-League or an ISL.
“A lot of football academies are coming up with better facilities and I feel that ISL has had a positive influence in changing the perception of people. More parents are now allowing their children to take uo football,” concluded Ebin. He is a former Santhosh trophy winner (2004) and has played for football teams like Travancore Titanium and Viva Kerala.