SOURCE: The New Indian Express, 27th June 2016

Trainees at the Kariavattom Sports Facilities Limited (KSFL) – TENVIC Sports Coaching Academy were amazed when Indian football legend I M Vijayan donned the role of their coach for a day at the Greenfield International Stadium, Kariavattom here on Sunday.

The 47-year-old, who has been the ‘Indian Footballer of the Year’ for multiple times, taught and demonstrated how to close control the ball, dribbling, passing, shooting and many other tricks of the trade. The children, who lapped up everything the legend showed them, then tried to emulate him.

“Every time you aim for the goal, make sure that you make contact with the ball when it is under your body. It should be the player who has to be in control or the ball will fly wide of the target,” Vijayan told the young footballers as they went in for a shooting drill. He appreciated those who hit the target while encouraged the ones who were off the mark.

The footballer also joined in when the boys were split into two teams and played a short game of football. Towards the end of the session, he also obliged to requests from the footballers to pose for a photo.

Following coaching sessions with the two batches of children training at the academy, headed by the new Indian cricket team coach Anil Kumble, Vijayan also attended an interactive session with the trainees and their parents where they exchanged ideas.

“You guys are so lucky to have a stadium like Greenfield to practice as well as good coaches. When I started to play football, we never had such grounds or coaches,” said Vijayan, who as a child sold soft drinks at the Municipal Corporation Stadium in Thrissur, his hometown.

Vijayan also acknowledged the role of parents when it comes to a child pursuing their interest in a sport.

“I think this coaching programme is a success because parents are taking a risk and bringing their children here for regular coaching. Everybody knows how important it is to have their family’s support,” he said.