Chhetri’s Camp ‘with a difference’ kicks-off

Debayan Mukherjee

A Sunil Chhetri of tomorrow committing the same mistakes his incumbent made at a tender age is less. The India Captain is at it! Chhetri’s six-day Camp, from June 18-23, at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi is aimed at giving the budding footballers between the age of 8-16 a feel of how a training process should be. A total of 60 participants are taking part in the Camp.
“You need to feel as a footballer. It is only then that you progress, and start believing in yourself,” Chhetri said on the sidelines of the Camp being organised by Letzplay FC and Delhi Soccer Association.

“I have seen yellow, blue, green jerseys in many Camps. This is not the right approach. Uniformity in kitting is very important, coupled with proper nutrition, good infrastructure. This is how a kid is made to believe in Football — he needs to feel as a Footballer,” added Chhetri.

The India Captain further explained how imparting basic knowledge can help a kid avoid making mistakes which even he made as a child.

“This Camp is different from any other Camp simply because here the kids will be taught the basics, on and off the field. Say for example, teaching him or her to wear shin guard during training and not pull your sleeves in trying to look cool while neglecting the basics. An ankle injury can put you out of action for months.”

“Off the field, basic stuff like how many hours of sleep is required, what should be your diet. For example, not to follow even what your parents are eating as they are not athletes, you are. These may sound elementary, but these are priceless lessons I did not get when I was a child. These are mistakes I committed.”

Chhetri, who shepherded India to two successive Tournament triumphs, the SAFF Championship 2012 and the Nehru Cup 2013, said that idea behind this Camp is to teach the ‘next generation footballers’ how to lead the life of a footballer.

“They are our future prospects. It is important to teach these budding Footballers the importance of leading a Footballer’s life from a very young age. This will help them immensely. When I was a kid no one guided me. I don’t want that to happen to the next crop. So while starting pre-Season, I though why not call the kids along.”

“Few of my friends wanted to open an Academy. But I felt it’s too early for that. I wanted to start with a coaching Camp. This is how it started, and the response has been wonderful so far. I plan to interact with the parents as well,” he maintained. “One pat on the back from your Father does a world of good. I am fortunate enough to have got that when I was a kid. I will share that with them,” Chhetri informed.