In a press conference held at the Football House, the AIFF witnessed Sunil Chhetri and Eric Benny making their collaboration public, a partnership that will help Indianfootball at the grass-roots level reach the next stage. Sunil Chhetri, Captain of the National Football Team, shared his thoughts and feelings on why the development of youth football in India is important, and how Eric Benny is one of the few people in this country who shares a similar focus with him. Chhetri discussed that although he has seen and heard of a lot of academies and collaborations, he was really impressed by FC Metz, a French Ligue 1 club with whom Eric has partnered to help improve the quality of football, with education a priority. Chhetri said, “Everyone wants to do well, but no one knows how. This collaboration with Eric Benny Sports Management is a small step towards a greater cause.” He then emphasised on providing education, the right values and discipline to the players, as he believes that only then will a player go on and become a better human being. “Over the years I have seen many players vanishing because they did not have the discipline and the right values.”
Mr Kushal Das, General Secretary of the AIFF, was also a part of the panel, andhe acknowledged and appreciated the work and effort put in by Eric Benny. “More people like Eric is what India needs and I’m glad that there are people such as Chhetri and Eric who are doing such great things.” Mr Das also mentioned that the next big focus for the AIFF is investing in football at the grass-roots level.
Eric Benny, Chief Executive – Eric Benny Sports Management, spoke about his time spent in Europe to search for the right club to partner with, a club that looks at a collaboration beyond money and profit, and actually wants to invest time in India. He said, “It took me a while to find the club, but I did it, and FC Metz was on the same wavelength as me. They do not differentiate between French and Indian players and that is extremely important, as is keeping education as a priority.”
Eric also took time to announce Metrifit as an official partner. He said, “It is important to link technology and sport, and Metrifit will help us to achieve our goals in terms of preventing injuries, looking after lifestyle, and other aspects important to a player.”
Rudoph Monnet, Counsellor of Sports and General Affairs – French Embassy in India, was a part of the panel, and he assured the support of the French Embassy in all ventures in the future. “We at the Embassy believe in Eric’s work and have also seen why his work makes him stand out. This Indo-French relationship in the field of sports will not only enable to leverage more youth in the right direction but also educate and nurture, as we and Eric believe.”