FC Madras introduces new facilities in Mahabalipuram
The club has huge ambitions and is India's first smart football academy.
FC Madras, a new-age football academy with a mission to create champions for life, unveiled a world-class football facility at Mahabalipuram, near Chennai. The new ‘Home of FC Madras’ is built to FIFA standards, specified by the AIFF (All India Football Federation) and AFC (Asian Football Confederation).
The pristine 23-acre integrated campus houses state-of-the-art floodlit football pitches including East Asia’s first hybrid pitch, a functional strength and conditioning centre, medical and recovery facilities, an indoor international-standard futsal pitch, a six-lane swimming pool, a residential hostel with a modern kitchen and dining facilities and an alternative learning centre following the NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling) curriculum.
FC Madras founder speaks on the initiative
“The dream is to find the next Messi from Madras,” said Girish Mathrubootham, Founder of FC Madras. “Our country has amazing young sporting talent that deserves success but needs the infrastructure, environment, and opportunity to unlock their true potential. It is encouraging to see the government and private companies take a bigger interest in sports and its infrastructure, and with the new FC Madras campus, I believe we have taken another step forward to inspire other leaders and businesses to create similar academies because our future champions need it.”
“FC Madras will be India’s first ‘smart football academy’ blending the must-haves of global football academy practices and technological advancements in sports technology: data analytics, video analysis, sports science, and optimal performance-based sports nutrition for our athletes,” said Dhananjai, the Director of Sports & Governance at FC Madras.
Abhishek Yadav, former Deputy General Secretary of the AIFF and the former Captain of the Indian National Football Team will be joining as the CEO of FC Madras. Venkatesh Shanmugham, a former captain of the Indian national football team, former assistant coach of the Indian National Football team, and former head coach of the India U20 team, will be joining FC Madras as the new Technical Director of Football, after his current stint with East Bengal FC.
The club founder iterated, “The investment till now has been little more than 100 crores including the cost of land and construction. I am doing it personally but we have created an FC Madras charitable trust and we would be open to donations.
“In the field, we have a pixel art artificial intelligence camera that automatically records the game and sends all the snippets to the video analysis lab. The coaches can have post-match learning sessions for the players and point out the mistakes in their strategies.
There is one more software called huddle where everyday morning in training if a coach wants the team to practice a defence drill then we show the players the drill. Additionally, we have a player management system and have introduced a lot of tech in sports science. These are used in top clubs in Europe.”
“More than 250 employees were part of the command center during the Qatar World Cup who was taking care of all the stadiums from one room. 190 of those controlling were Indians. Although India hasn't hosted a World Cup yet, but we were a major part of the last World Cup.”
Dhananjai said. “We have a nationwide scouting network for eg in the last intake we travelled to 19+ locations starting from Thuttur tip of TN. Players like Soosairaj have emerged from this place. We have also scouted in major parts of Kerala, Karnataka, West Bengal, North East, and Punjab. Last year we scouted 2416 students out of which the top 100 were invited to Chennai. Post which the top 50 were selected as part of the scholarship program provided by the academy.
“Close to 20 percent of recruits are from TN and sizeable players from Kerala and the North East. By June we will have 75 kids and by the time they reach 15 or 18, we will form a team. We also conducted baby leagues where 700 players across 35 teams took part.”
Manglethang Kipgen is part of the RoundGlass Punjab team which recently won the I League title. The 17-year-old youngster was part of the FC Madras U-15 team. The founder said, “He is a special kid, and loved watching him play. Happy that Covid 19 did not stop his progress.”
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