Bengaluru Football Club inducted the first set of players to its residential academy setup, at the JSW Township, in Vijayanagar, Bellary today.
Chief Operating Officer Mustafa Ghouse, Chief Technical Officer Mandar Tamhane and Head of Youth Development John Kila were part of the proceedings which saw 34 players join the academy's first ever U-16 squad.
Players selected through trials held in Bengaluru, Kerala, Punjab, Chandigarh and Mizoram were put through a final phase of trials at the Bangalore Football Stadium and Head of Youth Development John Kila said he was confident about the group that his youth coaches have assembled.
"Out of over five thousand players scouted across India, we selected 70 players in the U16 category for the final phase of selections, out of which 35 players made the cut. The assessment of the technical staff decided the nature of their contract. In the future, players would be assessed based on their physical, mental, technical and tactical prowess," said Kila.
"This is an exciting step forward in our plans to help develop the next generation of Bengaluru FC and Indian footballers and we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that these Academy boys get the best in class support from the JSW family and we are confident that we will see great things from them in the future," said COO Mustafa Ghouse.
The fully-funded youth development program, which is to be overseen by Kila and a dedicated technical team, will provide for the players' accommodation and nutrition whilst a Head of Academics will overlook the players' academics, with a fully supported and personalized education programme in place.
The youth players along with their parents were given a tour of the JSW Township, which boasts a state-of-the-art facility for the academy, with a full-length football pitch, gymnasiums and swimming pools among other amenities.
The Blue Colts will have their first taste of competitive action when they take part in the Rest-of-India Zone of the U16 Y-League in November.