Grassroots Football :: Mahindra Project Blog




Part 2 - GREIG ROBERTSON, Football Development Officer


Friday, April 29, 2011

After a long flight from Glasgow, I finally arrived in Bangalore to be met at the airport by Akshay from Procam. We took the car on the journey to our hotel accommodation outside the main city of Bangalore and closer to the venue for the tournament.

It was here that I soon realised that the only main rule on the road while driving is that 'he who toots his horn loudest, gains right of way'!

We reached the hotel in time for a quick change, meet up with Robert Glen (Celtic Academy goalkeeping coach) and head out to watch the first tournament game of the day kicking off at 7:30am!

During the course of the morning we watched all six finalists in action and took note of those players impressing to be selected for the four-day Masterclass. There was also the small matter of two teams securing a place in the final of the tournament to be held in the football stadium in the city of Bangalore.

Kolkata secured their place in the final with their fourth straight win, leaving Bangalore and Dehli to fight it out on the following day to play Kolkata in the final of this prestigious footballing event.


Saturday, April 30, 2011

The final round of matches were played with Kolkata finishing on 100 per cent with five wins from five and the local team, Bangalore winning by 2-0 and securing a place in the final against them to be held on Sunday, May 1 in Bangalore.

After the matches, Robert and myself compared notes along with those provided by Chris Hendry and Mark Reid to finalise the players to be selected for the final four-day masterclass coaching session to be conducted by Stevie Frail, Ian Coll and myself.

We were all pretty much in agreement with a few players being debated. It was a sad day for a young player from Kerela who had been doing very well in the tournament but unfortunately had to been taken to hospital with a suspected broken collar bone. Our thoughts are with him and hope that he makes a speedy recovery.

In the evening we were taken to an Indian Premier League Cricket match and for someone who knows very little about cricket (it consists of a batter and ball and some fielders!) I was amazing and excited by the passion and support the crowd show for their team.

As this was the quicker and exciting 20-overs version of the game we saw plenty of 4s and 6s along with some pretty impressive flag waving and singing.

It was on the way home from the game that the traffic amazed me again, while almost losing a toe, elbow and knee on our way home. The big final tomorrow.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Today was the first session of the four-day coaching masterclass which I took, with Robert Glen working with the two goalkeepers.

The session was scheduled for four-6pm and at 3:30pm a coaching session on the grass was probably the last thing that you thought would happen with the heavens opening and the rain coming down in its droves along with some pretty impressive thunder and lightening.

The bad weather continued for around 30 minutes and then broke, allowing us to take to the pitch just after 4pm and start working with the 22 selected players in more detail.

This session further confirmed our decision to select the 22 players with some pretty impressive performances being put in during a coaching sessions based around short, sharp passing, game awareness and ball retention.

Robert is now packing his bags to return home to Glasgow and I know he will be missed by all the young Indian players and staff as he has built up a strong bond with them all.

But I am sure it will not take Stevie Frail and Ian Coll long to develop a similar rapport and continue the good work that has been done by all in the past week or so when they join me in the morning.



Part 1 - CHRIS HENDRY, Football Development Officer


WE arrived in Bangalore at 4.30am on Thursday, April 21 and were picked up from airport and driven to the hotel on the outskirts of Bangalore City. Even before sunrise, both pedestrian and road traffic is hectic. 


Everywhere you look there is action and colour as cars, bikes, buses and lorries of every shape and size weave their way from one lane of traffic to the other with no indication but the sound of their horn. 


After dropping the bags off at the hotel and grabbing the coaching equipment, we were taken to the school facility where the coaching sessions and tournament matches will take place.


Under-14 school teams from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Goa, Calicut (Karela) and Bangalore will participate in four days of coaching sessions before entering a five-day tournament which will conclude with the final played out between the top two finishers in the group stage at the Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore on Saturday, April 30. 
From the six teams, the 20 best players will be selected to attend a further week of specialised coaching from which two players will be selected to visit Glasgow and train with Celtic.


The daily coaching sessions were aimed at developing individual technique and increasing game/space awareness. 
There was also a tactical component of the coaching programme as we worked closely with each squad coach to assist in preparing the teams for the specific systems of play they aim to use during tournament play.


This session was based on developing individual technique and improving decision-making in a variety of attacking situations through game-related practices and small-sided games.  The boys demonstrated an excellent attitude and an eagerness to learn and develop their skills and technique. From a goalkeeping perspective this session covered basic handling and set positioning.


There was a late start to the coaching sessions today due to a severe thunder storm. The first session started at 8am rather than the scheduled 7am. Today’s programme was designed to develop an understanding of defending. The players worked hard throughout drills and practices in 1 v 1, 2 v 1 and 2 v 2 situations before spending some time on defensive team-shaping. The goalkeepers focused on shot-stopping and correct starting positioning in relation to the ball and the goal.


This was an incredibly hectic day. A press conference was crammed in between the two morning sessions and the late afternoon session. After the second morning session we made our way on a four-hour round trip to the Bangalore Football Association stadium in the centre of the city before returning to the coaching venue for the last session of the day. The press conference was broadcast on four national television channels and a number of local and national newspaper journalists reported positively on the programme. The coaching sessions today were based on possession and increasing space awareness. The players were encouraged to play at a high tempo with good movement off the ball.   Goalkeepers worked on 1 v 1 situations and dealing with through balls.


Today was spent helping prepare the squads for the tournament which commenced the following day. Following discussions with the respective squad coaches, sessions were geared towards each team’s individual style of play and set-piece routines were incorporated to ensure that each squad were fully prepared for competitive football.  Crossing and distribution, both throwing and kicking, were the main components of the coaching programme set out for the goalkeepers in these sessions.




Day 1
Kolkata 3-0 Bangalore
Delhi 0-1 Calicut (Karela)
Mumbai 3-0 Goa


An excellent start to the tournament with good football played in a competitive manner but in an extremely good spirit. Time was spent providing feedback to all teams after matches and suggestions were provided on areas for improvement for the following day’s fixtures.


Day 2
Bangalore 1-1 Delhi
Kolkata 5-0 Mumbai
Calicut (Karela) 0-0 Goa


Today’s matches were again competitive and played with a good manner with great respect shown towards opposition players and match officials during play. It is clearly evident from speaking with the young Indian players that this experience will have an enormous impact on their lives away from football. The players and coaches have openly expressed their feelings regarding the tournament and their enjoyment of both being involved in a national competition and their interaction with Celtic. Again, time was spent with each individual team after the day’s play to provide both positive and constructive feedback ahead of the following days play.

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