Dempo Sports Club was helped in putting its first foot forward by former India U-17 coach Louis Matos when it formally inaugurated its FIFA standard playing field along with club owner Shrinivas Dempo at Ella, Old Goa. “This is the beginning of a dream,” stated Shrinivas Dempo.
The Dempo Residential Football Academy has started with 24 of amongst the best U-13 boys from Goa for a period of four years. The Academy is expected to be fully ready by the end of 2018 with the second phase of construction expected to start in 2018 and last around ten to eleven months.
“The entire logistics will be shifted to this location once the work is ready. Another artificial turf is expected to be built and the academy campus will accommodation for 94 players plus the staff and include a library, a gymnasium and conference room,” disclosed Shrinivas Dempo.
“This is exactly what India needs. I am very pleased to know that Dempo has taken this initiative and I hope others will follow. When I was first appointed as coach of India, I wondered why there were no boys from India. I hope this academy will have an answer to my question,” stated Louis Matos on inaugurating the ground along with India U-17 captain Amarjit.
“A lot of boys from Goa could not be part of the selection process as the exams clashed with the selection dates. So, a lot of parents did not allow their children to attend the selections,” Shrinivas Dempo, who was part of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) during the selection phase told Matos. “Football is everything in the North East but not here,” said Shrinivas.
“When football in India was going through an indecisive phase, we at Dempo decided to sit back and focus on creating a platform for our boys to pursue their dreams of being professional football players. The best way to do this was through a world class residential football academy. This was our step from participation to creating a path for our boys of football excellence,” stated Shrinivas.
“We spend around two to two and half crores on the academy and the aim is to work on a revenue model. We have a contract with the boys wherein we provide the best in football and academics and expect the boys to shine and be spotted by clubs not just in India but abroad too,” stated Shrinivas.
“The boys are presently staying together in a block of apartments converted for them with all facilities. A nutritionist has been appointed to decide the meals for the boys and there are wardens and tutors for English and maths. The boys are allowed to go home once a month” stated Shrinivas.
“We have a contract of four years with the boys but it is difficult to say when we are going to see results from the academy. It is like waiting for the flower when seeds are planted,” stated the academies Technical director Katz Naidoo.
Competition can improve standard of football in India: Louis Matos
“Competition is essential for the standard of football to improve in India. Physical attributes play an altogether different role. I think the lads who played in the recently concluded World cup showed the importance of competition. Had they had more exposure to competition, the results would have been different,” stated former India U-17 coach and present coach of Indian Arrows Louis Matos on the sidelines of the inauguration of the first phase of Dempo SC Residential Football Academy.
“The more the boys play, the better they will be and the better they get, the better is the quality of their football,” emphasised Matos. “This is the plain truth,” added Matos.
“Six year old boys start participating in tournaments in South Ameirca and Europe. It is these competitions that help them grow as football players. I think the I-league will be a good platform for the boys to be able to compete. You just see the boys at the end,” stated Matos.
“There will be around five boys from the U-19 team that are part of Indian Arrows. The rest of the players are from the U-17 squad,” disclosed Matos.
“People in the U-19 tournament were surprised at the w3ay the U-17 boys played in that tournament. We initially started with a mix but when we won , the team was of boys who were part of the U-17 camp,” divulged Matos.