| Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | 14 Sept 2016 | Asia Samachar |
Two sisters are among the 72 young footballers from Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore vying for a chance of a lifetime to train with Barcelona, one of best football clubs in the world.
Kanchen Kaur and Asheesh Kaur are among the ‘young and promising footballers’ aged between 10 to 12 years old who made the selection cut for the Astro Kem Bola.
At a gathering in Kuala Lumpur yesterday (13 Sept 2016), the eager kids and their parents went wild when it was announced that they stand a change to train under the coaches at Barcelona in Spain.
Her kids, midfielder Kanchen, 10, and defender Asheesh, 11, play for the Supergirls, a club run by the Subang Jaya Community Sports Club (SJCSC). Five other girls from the all-girls club have also been selected for the Astro Kem Bola advance training.
“It is extremely encouraging that Astro came up with this programme to enhance grassroots football in Malaysia. What makes it even more special is that they’ve given equal opportunity for girls to dream big and work towards those dream,” Jagdesh Singh, father to the two sisters and coach to the Supergirls, tells Asia Samachar.
Astro Kem Bola is organised by Astro Kasih, the corporate social responsibility arm of Malaysia-based integrated consumer media entertainment group Astro, and 1MCC Sports Sdn Bhd.
“The hall erupted with loud applauding because we, the parents, knew the advance training was going to be held somewhere in Europe but from the awestruck faces, it was clear no one had the faintest idea it would have been at one of the holy Grail of football,” the sisters’ mother, Jasbir Kaur, wrote in her blog.
The 72 players have now progressed to Phase 2 for a five-day residential Advanced Training Camp in Kuala Lumpur.
At the camp, they will undergo intensive football drills, focusing on teamwork, positioning and strategic play as well as various classroom activities on health and nutrition.
Phase 3 will see the best 32 young footballers (16 boys and 16 girls) sent for a 10-day Overseas Training Programme in Barcelona.
The participants will take part in an immersive exchange programme which includes training under the local academy coaches, attending a live professional football match as well as a series of friendly matches against local youth sides.
To date, a total of 11,000 children have participated in the programme since its inception in 2012. In the past, the Overseas Training Programmes have been conducted with clubs such as Cardiff City Football Club and West Ham United Football Club.
Three Spanish football coach from the FCB Escola (FC Barcelona Football Camp) are handling the training sessions in Kuala Lumpur.
FCB Escola is a renowned youth football academy that has churned out world class players like Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Victor Valdes, Cesc Fabregas and Sergi Busquests.
Talking about the on-going training, Jagdesh said: “Even the exposure of training with these Barca coaches for five days is good enough for me and my girls. I’m not sure about them making the cut and the trip to Barcelona, but I’m sure they can take this experience very far in life.”
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