New Delhi, Nov 5 (IANS) A successful trial at French football club FC Metz led to Delhi-based Maanas Kalra and Shiv Jhangiani becoming the first Indian boys to train full-time in an international European club academy while pursuing their studies at the same time.
The duo underwent intensive training under former Indian manager Eric Benny and former US All-Ivy league player Yogesh Maurya for over three years. They will now train at the academy for the next one to two years.
Edukick Sports has tied up with famed French Club FC Metz, who are one of the best for youth development in Europe. After receiving training, Maanas and Shiv have been inducted into the FC Metz Centre de Formation in France -- an Academy, which has produced the likes of Robert Pires, Frank Ribery, Emmanuel Adebayor, Nico Pjanic and Louis Saha, among others.
Denis Schaeffer, Director, FC Metz Academy said: "FC Metz is pleased and delighted to expand our collaboration with Edukick. We have long had a desire to facilitate the development of football in India. Through Edukick we have accepted Maanas and Shiv at our Academy in Metz and are expecting more in the coming months."
Shiv Jhangiani, who impressed FC Metz coaches with his recent performances against the Luxembourg national team, said: "In the three months I have been here, I already feel a part of the club. I stay with the other academy players, train with them and go to school with them."
"Before coming to Metz I was lucky enough to train under Eric and Yogesh. They prepared me both on and off the field and the period of intense training proved invaluable in getting selected," he added.
Maanas Kalra said: "Being at Metz is a dream come true for me. Being a professional footballer is something I have strived for. I need to thank my coach Eric for developing me and helping me pursuing my dream. In fact, he is more of a friend and mentor than a coach."
"I hope to make the most of this opportunity and continue my development as a player so that I can compete with the best in the world."