Interview : Kovalam FC’s Ebin Rose on Grassroots Development and More
When you hear about Kovalam, what comes to your mind is the pristine beaches, sun kissed sand and swaying palms. Apart from being a global tourist destination, it has to be noted that Thiruvananthapuram district, of which Kovalam is a part of, has produced some of the finest footballers from Kerala. We took some time out to catch up with Ebin Rose (former Kerala & I-league player), who is the chief coach and dons the all-in-all role at the budding Kovalam FC.
After modest beginning in 2009 with 20 footballers, Kovalam FC has grown in to a full-fledged team of approximately 100 players with U-11, U14, U16 and a senior team as of now.
Here is what Ebin had to tell us about himself, Kovalam FC, its future, grassroot development and more. Read on.
- Greetings Ebin, tell us a little about yourself. How did start playing football, which teams have you represented and so on. –
Hello, I started my playing career in Thirvananthapuram, appeared for the district team both in the Junior and senior level. In 1997, i appeared for Kerala University team which won the South India University Championship. Subsequently in 1998, I led the Kerala university team in the All India University championship in which we finished runners up with me being the top-scorer of the tournament and was awarded the Oomen George gold medal by Kerala University.
In 1999, I started my professional playing career by playing for State Bank of Travancore team and then on I moved to Titanium Football club and subsequently got loaned out to Viva Kerala FC. With Viva Kerala, the team I played for 12 months, I could score a goal against East Bengal in I-league and appeared in all their matches during that period.
I am also member of the Kerala team which won Santosh Trophy in Delhi in 2004, appeared for Kerala from 2004-2008 in Santosh Trophy and played in Guwahati National games for Kerala. I finished my AFC C license certification in 2008 and currently don the role of coach and manager of Kovalam FC.
- What made you think about forming Kovalam FC and tell us more about Kovalam FC, who are the trainers, how many teams are there in the senior, Junior categories? –
I have a good and secure job now and much respect within the football fraternity. During my hey days in football, I had offers from the big clubs in India to play for them, but what I was looking for was a secure job and stability.
Due to my desire to give back to the society of poor fishermen family in my area, to give the kids quality training and thereby helping them to escape a life of drug abuse and criminality, Kovalam FC was set up in 2009.
In 2009 we started off with less than 20 players now we are approximately 100 players from Under 11s to our 1st team of seniors, that includes U-14 & U-16 teams. Our U-11 & U-12 teams are coached a minimum of 3 times a week as part of our Football Academy programme.
- What are the achievements of Kovalam FC so far? Has any players represented district, state teams so far? –
If you are to look at our achievements, we won the Thrivananthapuram DFA “A” Division league in 2009 after we formed Kovalam FC. Since 2010, we have been finishing in the top-half of the district league where our team is pitted against big departmental clubs such as KSEB, SBT and so on. In 2012, our U-16 team participated in the Youth Champions League conducted in Goa and were semi-finalists in the presence of football legend Luis Figo.
20 of our players have been part of the Thiruvananthapuram District teams in the senior and Junior Category. Our players have also made progress elsewhere. Skyline Dennis has represented Delhi in Santosh Trophy, Sair Sha and Baiju are paying for Titanium FC.
- What are the future plans for Kovalam FC, do you see you club making to I-league some day? –
Of course, we are gunning for participating in I-league in the future. But this depends on the financial viability and the growth of the club. We are expecting to achieve this within another 3 years. Kerala badly needs an I-league club.
- If you are to pick some really talented players coming through Kovalam FC, who are they?
If i am to pick some real good prospects from our team – Mijun (U-11), Midhan Mathiyas (U-13), Beniston (U-16), Athiesh (U-17).
- We saw some pictures of Kovalam FC players with AIFF Technical Director Rob Baan. Did Kovalam FC players get a chance to train with the AFC A license course candidates? If so, how different was Rob Baan’s approach towards coaching? –
Our players got a chance to train with the who and who of Indian football when the AFC A license certification was conducted in Thiruvananthapuram. That short training stint was very beneficial for our players. We also got very positive comments on the ability and skill levels of our players.
- Who are the main supporters of Kovalam FC? –
Self confidence, dedication, discipline and devotion is our income, and our supporters are dreams, hard work, and families of our players.
For more information on Kovalam Football club, visit http://www.kovalamfootballclub.com/