Football: Programme to groom budding players, coaches

Children at a football training session conducted by the Yuhua Albirex Football Academy, on March 26, 2017.
Children at a football training session conducted by the Yuhua Albirex Football Academy, on March 26, 2017. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Manchester City under Pep Guardiola are one of the more stylish English Premier League sides with their slick passing and free-flow attacking football.

Next month, the club hope to instil some of their footballing style in Singaporean kids, after announcing yesterday a partnership with their healthcare sponsor Mundipharma to launch the first Betadine Youth Football Development Programme in Singapore.

The programme will see up to 32 footballers - both boys and girls - between the ages of 10 and 15 benefit from coaching sessions delivered by two City Football Schools' coaches, who will be in Singapore from June 19-24.

A Man City legend with "vast experience" is expected to be at the programme as a mentor for the children. An announcement will be made next week on the operations of the programme, including registration details.

Clad in a sky blue suit, Mundipharma chief executive officer Raman Singh said: "The idea would be to bring the latest techniques, not only in terms of the skills that require you to play football better, but also the diet, mindset, and psyche one needs to have to really develop into a professional (footballer)."

The beneficiaries of the programme will be youth players from S-League clubs as well as football academies in Singapore.

S-League youth coaches will also have opportunities to enhance their own skills during "Coach the Coaches" sessions, which will be part of the programme. The programme will also reach out to budding coaches from the National Football League and coaches of Singapore's cerebral palsy football team.

"We want to create a programme that has longevity and could remain in Singapore," added Singh. "The idea would be to not only train the kids, but to also leave techniques behind for the coaches to expand to other children."

Damian Willoughby, senior vice-president of partnerships for City Football Group, added: "If we find a gem, then we would look at how we could support their development, whether it's for one of our clubs or their overall football development moving forward.

"Hopefully there would be some talented kids out there.

"Our guys will be perfectly placed to identify and hopefully nurture that talent."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2017, with the headline 'Programme to groom budding players, coaches'. Print Edition | Subscribe