Chelsea’s Search for Asian Star given Bollywood backing
One of Bollywood’s leading actors is backing Chelsea’s ‘Search for an Asian Star’ campaign, urging budding young Asian footballers to sign up to the project.
Abhishek Bachchan, a Bollywood actor and television presenter, emphasised the importance of such campaigns in promoting football in Asian countries.
“I know how important it is for young Asian kids to get involved with sport, not just to reach the top but to enjoy themselves, meet new people and be part of a team,” said the 34-year-old.
The star was quick to praise the London club for taking steps to promote the sport in Asia. “As a Chelsea fan I’m delighted my club is taking a lead on providing these amazing opportunities for Asian players and would urge everyone with a love for the game to sign up and take part.”
The competition began last year with over 350 players participating for a series of trial matches at the club’s training facilities in Cobham.
The search, which is aimed at youngsters aged between 8 and 13, involves specifically designed training exercises used by staff at Chelsea’s academy to analyse the ability, skill and speed of the competitors.
And managers, coaches and scouts from other clubs from various levels in the English game are afforded the chance to visit the academy in the search of potential talent.
The benefits of the initiative are evident after two of last year’s winners were later signed by Leyton Orient and Southend. The promise of a potential contract with the newly-crowned Premier League champions offers the ultimate motivation for any young Asian starlets.
Despite India’s vast population of over one billion it has failed to make any impact within world football. The country is ranked a lowly 132nd in FIFA’s rankings, a stark contrast to the success of the Indian cricket and hockey teams and golfer Jeev Milkha Singh who recently broke into the PGA’s top 50.
Players wishing to register can do so on the club’s official website at http://www.chelseafc.com/page/AsianSoccerStar.