Bengaluru FC to get residential academy

Bengaluru: I-League champions Bengaluru FC (BFC) on Wednesday revealed their plans of a full-fledged residential academy at the JSW Township in Vijayanagar, Bellary. The club will conduct trials in five different locations across the country -- Bengaluru, Kerala, Mizoram, Punjab and Chandigarh -- in the U-16 (January 2000 to December 2003) and U-18 (January 1998 to December 1999) age categories.  The shortlisted players will then be put through a final round of trials in Bengaluru after which the selected players will relocate to the academy in Bellary. The fully-funded youth development program, which will be overseen by former West African Football Association U-19s head coach John Kila, will provide for the players' accommodation, education and nutrition. "Youth Development has always been a part of the club's philosophy and a residential academy is something we've wanted to put in place for quite a while now," the club's chief operating officer Mustafa Ghouse said in a release. "John (Kila) comes with a rich experience of having implemented youth programs at various clubs and we are sure that under his guidance, our youngsters will progress through the ranks and make it to the club's first team and in time, the Indian National Football Team as well." With licensed coaches, physiotherapists, professionals in strength and conditioning and sports science, the BFC academy will work in tandem with the club's first team. With regards to the infrastructure, the facility comprises a full-length sand-based football pitch equipped with floodlights, a gymnasium and a swimming pool. Kila also expressed his excitement at the project saying, "It is a privilege to be a part of this club as we are looking to put our youth in the first team, which I am very excited about. The BFC residential academy and talent hunt is a fantastic project and I am looking forward to working with the coaches and players."