MILAN – The Inter Academy delegation is returning to Italy after their visit to India, where they worked out some of the details regarding their partnership project with Playon Skills. Technical director Marco Monti, along with fitness coaches Stefano Rapetti and Andrea Ratti, spent ten days holding talks, sharing opinions and visiting sites to build up an idea of the locations they will be working with.
Marco Monti spoke to inter.it about how the trip went: "We were met by incredible enthusiasm. Everyone is really keen to work with Inter. I’ve worked here before but I have to admit that every time I come into contact with Indian youth football I discover even more passion for the Nerazzurri colours."
So can we say it’s a nation making progress in which Inter and football could play a prominent role?
"Absolutely. Andrea Ratti will maintain a constant presence here starting in May. We’ve picked out a location for Inter Academy’s permanent headquarters: it will be the Mathagondapalli Model School, where the Hosur Rural Institute for Community Education is based, sixty kilometres from Bangalore. Twelve hundred children live there and it’s a campus where youngsters can find a way to study and practise sport at the same time. Many of them come from other regions and from disadvantaged backgrounds. So in that sense we’re happy to be able to make a positive contribution to their lives. There was so much enthusiasm, not only from the kids but from the coaches and parents as well. When the word got around that Inter Academy was there they came from all over the country. And this is an enormous country in which long distances can pose serious problems."
Is that where the permanent Academy will be based?
"Yes, it’s an ideal location and that’s where we’re going to set up the Inter Academy. Only the best kids will to get into it though: we’ll select them from the three City Centres in Bangalore, Kochi and Chennai. Once the project is in full swing there will be around 100 young footballers there, but it will take time. It will be a pyramid structure with Hosur at the top drawing from the City Centres run at stadiums in the other cities. In these centres we’ll hold weekend courses attended by the most talented youngsters from the five football schools in the area."
What’s the technical level like?
"It’s excellent and can get better: it’s not going to be hard because enthusiasm levels are sky high, both among the trainers and in the kids themselves. One thing that sets India apart from the other situations we’ve encountered in the US and the UAE, for example, is that for these kids here football is an objective, something for them to attain. In the other places it’s a sport that you can play, much like it is in Italy – another activity in the child’s day. In India, where there’s still a high level of poverty, football and the chance of going to a well-equipped school is a prize, a target. That’s why we must make sure that we’re able to convey – through the local coaches – how important the ethical side of what we do is."