For Eamonn Dolan and Lee Heron, who are also the director and deputy director of the Reading Football Academy, respectively, in the UK, there was no reason why budding footballers in the state cannot graduate to the world level.
The coaches, who are here on a talent hunt visit, were pretty impressed by the potential and high spirit of the young players. "The potential is clearly visible in the spirited and entertaining game played by the young players," Eamonn, who has played in many top English Premier League clubs, including West Ham United, Bristol City and Birmingham City, and been a manager of Exeter City FC for many years, said.
Prior to arriving in Itanagar on Sept 30, a four-member delegation of the club, including the CEO and the director, had called on state Chief Minister Nabam Tuki in New Delhi, expressing keen interest in exploring football talent in the state. Normally, the director of Reading Football Academy doesn't travel, but just because the Chief Minister was so enthusiastic about football, the Reading FC sent him personally, sources said.
Eamonn said that, for the past few days, he and Lee had been watching matches and interviewing some players. They enquired about the available infrastructure, coaches and facilities and also weighed the possibility of joining hands with the state government and Arunachal Pradesh Football Association.
Eamonn is one of the top football academy managers in the world, credited with playing for the Republic of Ireland under 21 and played in the Fifa Youth World Cup 1985 besides producing many international and premier league players.