EPL's 3-yr coaching programme in India next year

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Kolkata, Oct 11 (UNI) The English Premier League (EPL), in association with the AIFF and SAI, will commence a three-year programme in Delhi and Kolkata from February next year for training 80 coaches across the country.

A two-member EPL team, comprising Kate Hodgkinson (Media Operations Coordinator and Project Manager for Premier Skills) and Warren Barton (head coach of EPL, former Newcastle and England international), who were on a scoping visit to the city this week, were happy with the infrastructure and facilities provided by the All India Football Federation (AIFF), Indian Football Association (IFA) and Sports Authority of India (SAI).

The coaches who will participate in the programme include Barton and ex-Wimbledon coach Robbie Earl and three other youth coaches from any of the 20 EPL clubs ranging from Arsenal, Manchester United to Wigan and Racing.

Detailing about the programme, Barton said, ''We just finished about the programme in Egypt and it was a huge success. The plan is to select 40 coaches from each of the two regions and train them in three phases so that they can go back and serve football in their area of networking in a more fruitful manner.'' ''In the first part of the premier skills programme the young coaches would be given a chance to develop their skills through world class professional coaches. It will also be seen that they are encouraged to sustain the skill during the revisits. The training would be a mix of class room teachings on physical, psychological and nutritional details along with on field training on leadership, skills and communication,'' he added.

''The training will be unfolded in phases over the next three years with the coaches left with skill books that they need to follow and fulfil. We will come back in six to seven months to take up the second phase and then again the third,'' he said, talking about continuation in the field.

''Our job is not to find the head coach for India. It's to build the infrastructure for football and manpower to lead the game in the country. It could also result in an exchange programme in the later phases,'' he added.

Kate, talking about the programme, said, ''We are happy with the facility and hope the programme will be a huge success. After Egypt and India, the EPL was looking at China. Zaire and Tanzania were also under consideration.'' While the Delhi series a will be held from February 4 to 9, five-day session at Kolkata begins from March 10 next year.

While the IFA and SAI selects the 40 coaches from West Bengal and NE States for the premier skills, the job in Delhi will be done by AIFF and SAI. British Council will be an active participant in both the courses.

Speaking on the occasion IFA Secretary Utpal Ganguly said, ''the intense session will certainly bring a big difference in coaching, infrastructure and refereeing.'' SAI boss K V Rao said, ''The dormitories would be made to the international standard by December this year and by 2008 December the SAI facility will have a synthetic ground for soccer to promote football.'' UNI BA KK PDS GC1733

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