Gurgaon: Citing the examples of Didier Drogba and Cristiano Ronaldo, former England captain and Manchester United great Rio Ferdinand today said Indian football need a stand-out player to catch the country's fancy. "Like Didier Drogba did for Ivory Coast and yes, Cristiano Ronaldo for Portugal, India need that one big player on whom they can build it around," Ferdinand, one of the
finest centre backs, to have come out of England, said.
As part of their global commitment to support football amongst the youth, British broadcast giant BT Sport organised a football workshop for young footballers in Delhi. Two English footballing legends, Ferdinand and Robbie Savage arrived in the capital with The Supporters Club, BT’s charitable initiative, and engaged in multiple activities involving children including training sessions and interactive events.
Ferdinand and Savage visited an IOT — Arsenal Soccer Schools centre in Delhi NCR, where they conducted an exclusive training session with the young footballers. The training session was followed by a match between two teams trained by IOT — Arsenal Soccer Schools, Pathways School Gurgaon and Dalhousie Public School, Badhani, which ended 3-3. Both, Ferdinand and Savage, who are ambassadors for BT, focused on the all round development of children through football, both on and off the field.
BT Sport currently enjoys a long term, successful relationship with Arsenal Football Club, one of the biggest brands in world football, and the latest initiative was aimed at promoting the sport amongst the Indian youth. Arsenal FC already have a strong presence in football training in India, via the IOT — Arsenal Soccer Schools programme, which currently operates in over eight cities across the country.
The programme, which teaches its students to ‘Play the Arsenal Way', is also based on the philosophy of holistic development, focusing equally on technical ability as well as values and life skills.
Addressing the young players, Ferdinand said:"We have had a fantastic time in India, coming out here training with you guys and the coaches — I think they need to be given a lot of credit for giving their time, their energy and for the enthusiasm of the young players.
"Keep playing, keep working hard, keep practicing and hopefully one of you guys will make it to the Indian national team and be the guy that everyone looks up to you, be the inspiration."
"Enjoy football; play with a smile on your face, that’s the most important thing. Thank you for having us. We've thoroughly enjoyed the experience," said Savage.