Football for change: MYFA, Dortmund join hands
CHENNAI: It is not for nothing that football is referred to as the ‘beautiful game’. The work being done by the city-based Murugappa Youth Football Academy (MYFA), run by the AMM Foundation since 2015, is a good case in point.
In a country where most football training schools focus solely on the sport, the MYFA, which offers coaching for free, strives to inculcate human values such as discipline and honesty by using the ball as a tool. The academy is home to about 300 handpicked youngsters, who are aged between 11 and 18 and come from a low socio-economic background.
Since a number of its trainees face challenges at home – like monetary issues and separation of parents when young – and are exposed to habits which could ruin their life, the MYFA ensures that they stay on the right track by playing football for fun.
Hosting sessions at the Sir Ramaswami Mudaliar Higher Secondary School in Ambattur and the Vellayan Chettiar Higher Secondary School in Tiruvottiyur – both run by the AMM Foundation – the academy prioritises moulding good human beings; it considers producing professional footballers a bonus.
The MYFA recently joined hands with Borussia Dortmund after striking a strategic partnership with the German football giant. As part of the deal, BVB Evonik Football Academy Dortmund talent development coordinator Julian Wasserfuhr and Borussia Dortmund Asia-Pacific managing director Suresh Letchmanan, also a certified coach, flew down to Chennai last week for a three-day camp with the MYFA kids.
Julian and Suresh let the youngsters do their thing – play with a smile on their faces – besides imparting knowledge to not only the trainees but also the academy’s coaches (three of them).
“Most importantly, we wanted to give them (the kids) an opportunity to play football. We have engaged with underprivileged kids in Indonesia and Thailand, so bringing communities together is not something new to us. They (the kids) love to play football, they are taking the effort to prove themselves,” said Suresh after conducting a session.
“Dortmund is a people’s club. Regardless of their (the kids’) social background… to provide them the sense of enjoyment with football. It is heartwarming for all of us,” added Suresh.
On his part, Julian, who played youth-level football under current Chennaiyin FC head coach Thomas Brdaric at the now defunct German club FC Union Solingen, said: “They (the trainees) have a good technical level. They know how to pass, they know how to dribble and they know how to act on the pitch. The sessions were very good.”
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