Mixed-gender training sessions and matches will help Indian women’s football, according to German Football Association coach Wiltrud Melbaum-Stähler.
Although she has been here only for a brief period, the German is impressed with the quality Tamil Nadu has on offer. But she added the scorching heat during the summer months is taking a toll on the youngsters. “A lot of kids here have the ability, but they are not aware of the areas they need to improve upon. Back home, footballers keep playing and we monitor them closely. Here, it’s tough to have the same kind of intensity because of the climate,” she opined.
Melbaum-Stähler was part of a couple of events in the last two days. On Tuesday, the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) benefitted from her services, courtesy a camp at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. The following day, she interacted with private school children at MCC School, in an event organised by the Goethe Institute/Max Mueller Bhavan.
“I did a presentation (on Tuesday) on how German football works, the structure. I gave inputs to local trainers, who take care of these budding talent. I then had training sessions with children (on both Tuesday and Wednesday).”
Once her commitments in Chennai are done, Melbaum-Stähler will stop in New Delhi and Colombo to impart a certain deal of knowledge to the young footballers there. “It’s been an interesting experience to teach youth who want to make a career out of football. They have been very friendly with me,” said the coach, who could be returning to India next year.
A member from the German Consulate in Chennai was delighted with the outcome of the trip.
“The kids really enjoyed training under her. We are planning to bring her back in 2020, for a longer stint,” said the official.