The long-awaited aspiration of the All India Football Federation to set up a world-class academy will finally become a reality in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, on November 21, 2023. The AIFF-FIFA academy, to be launched under the FIFA Talent Development Scheme, will be inaugurated by Mr. Arsene Wenger, the Chief of Global Football Development, FIFA.
The FIFA TDS is a programme aimed at collaborating with different Member Associations across the world to increase the competitiveness of their national teams. The FIFA has also rolled out its Talent Coaching Programme, with which it intends to provide active on-ground support to the Member Associations.
Commenting on the development, AIFF President Mr. Kalyan Chaubey said, “Mr. Arsene Wenger will be here in India from November 19 to 23. During this period, he and his team will meet ISL, I-League clubs and all those who are involved with Youth Development in Indian football.
“In the past, we have seen several academies coming up in India. Taking a cue from it, our efforts would be to build this academy into a flawless one. We are confident that Mr. Wenger’s vast experience and keen understanding of things would be of huge help in turning this academy into a world-class facility. I personally remain grateful to the FIFA President, Mr. Gianni Infantino for taking the initiative and for sending Mr. Wenger to India.”
AIFF Acting Secretary General Mr. Satyanarayan M said, “This is a giant step towards our long-term vision and investing in youth as young as below 14 is perhaps the greatest start. We will start working on such similar endeavours in other parts of the country to ensure talent does not get overlooked. It is certainly exciting times for Indian Football.”
Mr. R Vineel Krishna, IAS, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Sports and Youth Service Department, Government of Odisha, said, “We are very excited that Bhubaneswar has been selected for the FIFA Talent academy. The honourable Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Naveen Patnaik, has directed us to provide all support for the development of football in India. We are working in close partnership with AIFF to create the best facilities for our football players.”
FIFA has recommended Mr. Sergi Amezcua Fontrodona as the FIFA-trained coach, who will relocate to India to implement the project and act as the head coach at the FIFA-AIFF academy.
Mr. Amezcua has been a FIFA TDS Coach since August 2023 and has previously had the experience of developing football in China, as the Project Director at the Barça Academy Pro Haikou.