KOCHI: Back in February, when FC Goa were busy trying to secure AFC Champions League berth and gunning for their maiden Indian Super League title, their assistant coach Clifford Miranda had made a short trip to Germany and spent over a week with Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig and even met their head coach Julian Nagelsmann.
While the two-time ISL finalists were trying to secure success and silverware on the field, Clifford’s visit was part of the work that the club was putting in to develop their footballing activities at the grassroot level.On Thursday, it was officially announced that the two clubs have entered into a three-year strategic partnership that will run till June 2023 with the primary focus of the association being the training and development of young Indian players.
As part of the tie-up, coaches from RB Leipzig’s Academy will visit Goa to exchange ideas and conduct workshops. The coaches and players from FC Goa’s youth set-up too will visit RB Leipzig’s youth academy in Germany for training. “Their facilities are one of the best. And besides meeting their head coach Nagelsmann, what was more enriching and useful for me was to see how the entire set-up is (at a big club like Leipzig) right from U-8 to the first team.
Everything from how a team should function from grassroots to youth, and to see it first-hand was really good for me and it’s something that we can possibly implement in India,” said Clifford. RB Leipzig came into prominence recently after their remarkable run to the UEFA Champions League semifinal and are one of the rising forces in world football ever since their formation in 2009 thanks to the backing of energy drink manufacturers Red Bull who own the club.
“I am delighted to have Leipzig as our partners. They have shown the world of football how to build from the ground up and that’s something we resonate with. It is our first international partnership. Our goal is to develop Indian footballers for the world stage and this partnership helps us create a visible pathway for all young aspiring footballers in India,” said FC Goa president and co-owner Akshay Tandon.
The Leipzig outfit along with New York Red Bulls (Major League Soccer), Red Bull Bragantino (Brazilian Serie A) and Red Bull Salzburg (Austrian Bundesliga) are all owned by Red Bull. “The club (FC Goa), with its young, modern and innovative approach suits us perfectly. We want to break new ground with RB Leipzig and now we look to take our first steps internationally.
The discussions with those responsible at FC Goa were very open, convincing and effective from the start. The emerging Indian market is therefore an absolutely suitable starting point for our future endeavours,” RB Leipzig CEO, Oliver Mintzlaff. The partnership will also see both clubs launch nationwide camps. The FC Goa National Soccer Camps, both online and offlibe, will now be supported by Leipzig.