“Catch em young” a mantra which we see hardly followed by the Indian football clubs. In the European countries the football youth system starts from the age of 8 while in India very few clubs have U-14 teams. Despite being aware that a professional footballer will develop if he is groomed from very young age, the professionals clubs in India have not emphasized on youth teams.

FC Barcelona after their hugely successful academy has decided to move to other parts of the world. The quest to find the best talent in the world has brought FC Barcelona on the Indian shores. The Spanish giants have opened their academy in Delhi NCR. and the academy in its quest to find the talent had arranged trials in the various part of the country.

The Feast Of The Starlets.

Stars In Making

FCBEscolas is an age group tournament organized by the Barcelona FC. The scouted talent from the various academies of the Barcelona Football club around the globe participate in the tournament. The tournament which was started last year is treat to watch as the young stars show their skills to the world. Almost 600 players from various places such as Dubai, Japan, Korea, Egypt, India, Tenerife, Reus, Villanova and Barcelona had participated in this football feast. India was making debut in this tournament and all eyes were on young starlets from India.

The 52 team tournament FCBEscolas, showed the world how well Barcelona has organized their scouting network. The tournament is still its nascent stage but we can expect the next Lionel Messi, Xavi or Victor Valdes coming through ranks of the Spanish giants.

One of the major attractions of this time around in the FCBEscolas was inclusion of the Indian team in the tournament. European Clubs have realized the potential of the Indian market and the talent India has. Even though a lot of academies around the world promised to launch football academy in the country none except Barcelona have been able to fulfill the promise. Even though Barcelona academy is not fully functioning but they have started their talent search and are having trials and camps in various parts of the India.

We Not Here Just To Make The Numbers!

Flan Dribble Past The Defender

FCBEscola India had selected 9 talented youngsters for the team which participated in the tournament. The core team of the squad had Goan players which the academy selected with the collaboration with the Goan Football Development Council. The other 4 were from the NCR centre of the academy. The team Squad Consist of Flan Gomes , Bevan Bernard Monteiro , Samward Pereira , Shannon Viegas , Ayan Lall (all from Goa), Ameya Kanadikar (Jaipur), Parth Kothari , Saarthak Mehrotra, Kabir Krishna Rao (all from Delhi-NCR).

These young boys were accompanied by the FCBEscolas staff such as Toni Claveria (Director, FCBEscola India Project), Tarun Goyal (coordinator, Conscient Football), Anu Jain (Director, Conscient Football), Sukhwinder Kumar (Coach, Conscient Football).

FCBEscola India U-12 team started their campaign against FCBEscola Four. The FCBEscola Four were much better than team India and hence team India lost this match 4-1 to them. The Indian team next went on to play against relatively weak Kuwait side. The Indian team made most of this opportunity and scored the goals at the will. The Indian cubs demolished the FCBEscola Kuwait team 4-1. The team next played against FCBEscola Tenerife and the Blue Cubs started the match on a bright note. The Indians scored 2 quick goals in first 3 minute of the match. The team however could not keep their lead and FCBEscola Tenerife comes back strongly to draw the match. Despite dominating the match Indian team failed to win this match. The team other results were impressive as they won against FCB Escola Egypt 2-0, FCB Reus One 4-1, FCB Barcelona 2-1 and lost against Escola Reus Two. The Indian team ended their campaign 9th place winning 4 games out of 7, losing 2 out them and drawing the remaining one.

Outstanding Flan Gomes

Flan Gomes with Adriano

Flan Gomes was one of the star performers for the Indian team in the tournament. The Goan was impressive and everyone was astonished to see his  magical performance. The Curtorim Born lad was declared the outstanding player of the tournament. The starlet received his award from the Barcelona Brazilian superstar Adriano. Flan has immense potential in him and if provided with good facilities and guidance this young star could be next superstar of India.

It’s Time To “Catch Em Young”

FCBEscola tournament has shown that we are equally good as others in the world. These youngsters need to be groomed well. After looking at the impressive performance by our young Indian cubs; the Indian clubs should realized the important of nurturing talent from the very tender age. There is a lot of talent in India and they just need to find them and provide them with good facilities. FCBEscola should be taken as example by the Indian clubs and the football associations. There is a need of U-12 tournament in India and India should follow what other developed nations in football are doing that is starting the youth system at age of 6-8.

The 9 gems from Indian performed remarkably well in the  FCBEscola tournament and that too against teams from developed football nations. There is lots of Lionel Messi out there; we just need to find them. Can FCB academy India find one? The answer may be not yet be known but the intent is definitely there.