India’s track record in football is a long, sorry saga of official ineptitude, corruption and neglect despite the game being hugely popular with a lot of hidden talent across the country.
But Anuj Gupta and Vijay Hakari, the business owners of Sudeva Moonlight FC, a city-based club which plays in the second division I-league, are doing their bit to bring about some much needed change — with Spanish help.
Having bought an 85 percent stake in Spanish third division club CD Olimpic de Xativa, the Sudeva Moonlight FC owners have embarked on an ambitious project to develop upcoming Indian players. They have brought former Real Madrid player Oscar Rubio — who is now a coach — to select young boys from around the country and give them a chance to train and play in Spain.
“We are the first ever Indian club to buy a club in Spain. I have appointed Oscar to come to India and find talent who can play for our club in Spain.
“last year, we we opened a company in Switzerland which acquired the Spanish club. We are looking at different options. We visited different parts of Spain — places like Malaga, Madrid, Murcia and Valencia,” Gupta told IANS.
“We found this club which seems to be perfect because the climate is quite mild throughout the year because it is near the sea. It seemed perfect because there the climate is around 23 degrees centigrade throughout the year and it is very close to Valencia which is a big city and a hub of Spanish football,” he added.
“From every aspect it seemed that Indians will be able to adjust to the climate culture, food. Prior to that, I had gone to Germany and Belgium as well. But I thought Spain will be the best option for Indian kids.”
As one of the first steps toward their ambitious project, Sudeva Moonlight FC conducted a countrywide talent search from July 14-20 in the age groups of U-13, U-15, U-18 and U-23.
Conducted in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangaluru, the trials shortlisted a total of 48 kids. While 225 attended the trials in Delhi, 120 budding players attended in Mumbai and 140 turned up in Bengaluru.>