29th October 2000
Editorial/Opinion| Plus| Business|
Sports| Mirror Magazine
By Subani HassimdeenWith the new Football Headquarters and the Training Centre which will be ready by May 2001, I would like the Football Federation to start a Football Academy for the benefit of youth which will be very vital for the development of the game in this country. In the Asian region, countries like Malaysia, Thailand, India and Nepal have already introduced such Football Academies to improve the standard of football among youth.
What is Football Academy?
The Football Academy is a special centre, which will have to be set up by the Football Federation of Sri Lanka. Talented young players will be coached and trained at the Football Academy. These players who are aged from 12 to 18 years of age will be known as Academy Students.
The Football Academy will have highly qualified specialist coaches and a good pitch and other facilities.
They will have support from other professional staff, including physiotherapists, doctors and teachers. Some of the students will become professional footballers. Some of them will represent their country one day.
So, the Football Academy is really about excellence, in everything they do.
Attaining excellence is the aim of every Academy official.
Who is the Academy Director?
Football Academy will have a Director, who will be in charge of the overall activities and will have experienced in football (He may be a former national player himself) and in developing young players. He will be in regular contact with the club managers, prefect of games in schools and other important people at the clubs and schools.
Helped by coaches, with advanced coaching qualifications, the Academy Director will organise the training programmes.
The Academy Director will be responsible for all the decisions about students, whether they should come to the Football Academy in the first place and whether they reach the standards necessary to remain a member.
What does a student get from the Football Academy?
Will be privileged to be a member of the Academy; Represent the Academy at all times, both on and off the field. Attends coaching and development sessions with the very best coaches; Players for the Academy, wearing its kit in Football Matches; Spends time with and is influenced by other people who are aiming for the top; Is taught to enjoy preparing and participating, working hard and achieving success.
Can the student play football for other teams?
Many very promising young footballers were hurt by playing in too many competitive matches of poor quality. All those matches meant that time to concentrate on improving skills was lost. The result was that many good players were unable to make the progress they deserved.
For these reasons, students will be allowed to play only for their schools and for the tournaments recommended by the Academy. The Football Academy will draw up the match programme for each student following discussion with his parents and schools' principals. The programme may include matches for school teams, but for other junior clubs depends on their age and maturity.
What else can you expect?
The Football Academy: Will have facilities to meet very high standards; Is backed up by expert medical and physiotherapy assistance; Is committed to the best child protection arrangements for the students; Tells parents what its procedures are and gives them the name of someone whom they can contact at any time; Has full-time head of education and welfare and experienced teacher who works with parents and schools to help students' all round development and who will be always available to answer parents' questions and concerns; The head of education and welfare, also will make study facilities available for students, homework and organises courses on English, Computer studies etc.
Who can become a student?
Places at the Football Academy will be limited and only the very best talented players can be considered and invited to join.
How do you become a Football Academy student?
A player's very special skills and talent are noticed and the Football Academy is told about them. They will be then tested by qualified coaches and absorbed into the Football Academy.
How is a trial arranged?
Usually, the player and his parents will be invited to the Football Academy to meet the coaches and other staff to see the facilities (The ground, training areas, changing rooms, education social areas and so on).
The player will probably have the chance to train with students at the Football Academy and to play games with them. Whilst doing so he will be carefully watched by the Academy officials who will be interested not only in his skills but in his behaviour and his attitude both on and off the field. They will decide if he reaches the standard they require.
What should I do if I am approached by an agent?
Some professional clubs are represented by an agent, someone who acts on thier clubs. Young players and their parents may be approached by people calling themselves agents who will suggest that they are the best persons to look after the interests of the player.
If this happens and the student is registered at the Football Academy, you should talk to the Academy Director who will give advice.
Registration of students
Registration is sometimes called signing or being signed. It happens when the Football Academy, the student, his parents put their names to official documents produced by the Academy.
The documents include a registration form and code of conduct. Parents also receive a full copy of rules.
The Football Academy staff, the student and his parents make a formal, legal agreement and commit themselves to one another for a specified period.
How long does registration last?
The Football Academy hope that their students' progress is such that they will be registered to a substantial period of time. Sometimes that will not happen, so each registration period has a fixed length.
For students 12-16 years for one year; For students 16-18 years for two years.
What happens when the students leave the Football Academy?
All the students of the Football Academy will continue to participate in some way in the wonderful game of Football.
Obviously, the aim of the Football Academy is to turn out players who will become regular member of leading Clubs and Companies and whose career in professional Football will take them to the highest level.
But the Football Academy knows that only the very talented students will reach that target.
Predicting just which one will make it is very difficult. But whether
a student is to be national cap or a professional player a Referee or Coach
of the Football Academy will want him to become a mature, popular and sensible
individual, enjoying not only his Football but everything else, a full
life has to offer.
Arun was awarded the national swimming championship award by the Deputy
General Manager of Bank of Ceylon Mr. Sarath de Silva, the principal sponsor
of aquatic sports in Sri Lanka.
This new artificial hockey ground provided with most modern facilities is a boon to hockey players in the area as they are able to play with more enthusiasm here.
In the exhibition hockey match played between Sri Lanka Air Force team and the Matale District Hockey team, to mark the opening ceremony, SLAF team defeated Matale District H.T. by 4-0. Dhammika Abeyratne and Nuwan Perera scored 2 goals each for the winners.
Indrawansa Herath and Nayana Priay Jayasinghe umpired
L.D Clandrasiri (Matale)
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