With youth development of football in India as its main focus, Eric Benny Sports Management earlier this year announced the launch of “My Chance” – a unique football tournament that would identify indigenous grassroot talent and sponsor their training at the French club, FC Metz which is known for producing world class players such as Robert Pires, Emmanuel Adebayor, Miralem Pjanic amongst others.
This one of a kind talent hunt saw over 75 teams from the NCR sweat it out in the age category of Under 13 and Under 15 years. One of the aims of this unique initiative by the former Indian Team Manager, Eric Benny is to not just promote Indian football but also, add to the already existing team of 6 aspiring young Indian footballers who Eric Benny has placed at the French club over the last 2 years. A firm believer of the small sided version of the beautiful game, Eric Benny ensured that talent was spotted with the smaller age playing 4 v 4 and the elder ones playing 7 v 7 with the technical staff from FC Metz on each pitch at the Ambedkar Stadium here in New Delhi. After 3 days of intense short duration games, Eric Benny along with his FC Metz team announced the 4 individual winners of the tournament.
The four boys that were selected to train at FC Metz for a short stint after the 3 days of this unique tournament were: Anand, Rajkumar who were from My Angels Academy, Ramon Bathla from St. Pauls School and Amrendra Tyagi from Sherwood College.
Eric Benny, Chief Executive – Eric Benny Sports Management shared his thoughts on My Chance. “My thoughts and intentions when I announced the initiative earlier this year were clear. I wanted to give those boys a chance who had what it takes to compete alongside other aspiring young boys who come from footballing nations from around the world. It’s easier said than done when someone in India talks about wanting to play in Europe, especially in a club like FC Metz who have one of the best youth development systems in Europe. I would like to thank FC Metz staff and the French Embassy for being a part of this and I appreciate their support in helping me achieve my dream which is to take Indian football to the next stage. These boys who we have selected will go stay at the academy in FC Metz for a period of 3 to 4 weeks where they will not only get the exposure to live and train in an international academy but also realise the importance of how a professional player needs to take care of small aspects such as eating and sleeping right. This is a small step towards bringing the big change towards Indian football”
Denis Schaeffer, Director of Formation- FC Metz Academy who has established a strong relationship with Eric Benny and been to the capital more than once was not shy of making his intentions and observations. He said “When I go back to France this time, I am sure to tell everyone that this trip was more than just a nice weekend in India. It was about finding the right boys who have that hunger to play in Europe. We know that Indian sports is dominated by cricket, and we do not intend to do any harm to that but we believe and we know that the next big thing is football in India and we are glad to be associated with someone such as Eric to help us achieve that.
I have mentioned this a few times before that I am more than happy to come over more than just once or twice a year to find and spot the right talent in India who we at Metz believe can play in a footballing nation such as France”
Alongside Denis Schaeffer was Pierre Gillet, President of the Academy at FC Metz who was in India for the first time and excited to be here. Adding a bit of humour to the air around, he said “This is a very funny moment because my English is not very good”. With the collaboration and My Chance, Pierre shared the same thoughts as Denis. He added “We at Metz believe that this collaboration would only add value to Indian football”
Max Claudet, Cultural Counsellor of the French Embassy, who was also a part of the panel, said “I have always been more than happy to help Eric and his work. We at the Embassy are looking for more ways and ideas to strengthen the Indo-French relationship especially for younger children and when Eric and I spoke a couple of years ago about how he intends to help young Indian boys and girls, we knew that this would be perfect because we believe in the youth. I have not shared this with Eric as of now, but we at the Embassy would be more than happy to help boys or girls who would head to Metz in respect with aspects such as their living abroad or with documentation. We would like to always be a part of this project”.
Eric Benny also took this time to announce the partnership with Mr K.B Chhetri, the Managing Director of Letz Play. Mr K.B Chhetri, father of the Indian national team Captain, Sunil Chhetri said “I am happy to be a part of this unique partnership with Eric Benny Sports Management. What I am also happy to announce is that my son, Sunil Chhetri is more than happy to represent Eric Benny Sports Management and Letz Play making him the brand ambassador for all our future projects and initiatives across the country. Eric Benny believes in developing the youth of this country in football and so do we. I believe that this partnership can only take things forward for Indian football”.