Apollo Tyres Allies With Man Utd To Nurture India’s Budding Footballers
We know that Football is a huge and growing sport in India, I think it’s about 400% increase in the last two years, says Manchester United’s Head of Academy, Nick Cox
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It is a known fact there were nearly 100 million Indian viewers who were glued onto their electronic devices (TV, iPad, smartphones, etc.) when the FIFA World Cup 2018 was telecasted live. Furthermore, among the countries that did not qualify for FIFA World Cup 2018, Indian football fans have purchased the third highest number of tickets to attend the tourney. Over the last few years, the increase in investment from Indian companies in the likes of European leagues or deals with international football players are helping to create a groundswell for change in the Indian football story.
A leading Indian multinational major to piggyback on this trend is Apollo Tyres, which has joined hands with Manchester United, a professional football club based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England, to roll out the ‘United We Play programme’ to encourage young football talent from across the country. Fledgling football players will be trained by the Manchester United Soccer School (MUSS) coaches, with the best performers getting the privilege to play with Manchester United’s U-18 team, which will be on its maiden visit to India this year.
While interacting exclusively with BW Businessworld, Manchester United’s Head of Academy, Nick Cox, maintained, “We know that Football is a huge and growing sport in India, I think it’s about 400% increase in the last two years. We know that there are young people who are enthusiastic and their imagination have been captured by Football. We hope that what we can do is we can go out and show them some ideas and tips for training and to help them reach their full potential.”
It is to be mentioned that the ‘United We Play’ programme will be held in two age groups - U-13 and U-16 -- in eight cities comprising Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Goa, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai and Bengaluru in the next two months, with around 3,000 young footballers expected to take part. The initial programme will be run by local coaches, before the young footballers get a chance to get trained by coaches from the Manchester United Soccer School (MUSS).
“It’s exciting for us because we know we’ve got a huge fan base in India where we want to share Manchester United with them. We know how important the club is to them,” Cox further added.
The 32 best performers, selected from across the country, will congregate in Mumbai to participate in two training sessions with the Manchester United U-18 squad.
Speaking at the launch of the programme, Rajesh Dahiya, Vice President, Marketing, Sales and Service (India, SAARC & Oceania), Apollo Tyres Ltd. noted, “Inviting the Manchester United’s U-18 team, which has been identifying and providing a steady stream of players, to the United’s first team to visit India is a part of our continuous engagement with the Indian football fans.”
(With inputs from Nitish Rampal)