Tapan Roy speaks candidly with mohunbaganclub.com about Mohun Bagan Sail Football Academy.
He was born on 9th July 1961. He is from Belgram, 9 km from Burdwan town. A Commerce Graduate (with Hons) from Burdwan Raj College (1984), he achieved a degree on Sales Law(1988). He became a Taxation Lawyer. But a successful sports-person, Tapan Roy, was more popular as the skipper of Burdwan University cricket team. He played 1st Division Cricket for Kolkata Customs Club, YMCA, Tapan Memorial – to name a few. He joined Mohun Bagan club in 1996. An Executive Committee member of Mohun Bagan Club, he is the Academy In-charge of Mohun Bagan Sail Football Academy.
Tapan-da, MBSFA – Durgapur is now 7 years old. So, whatever you’ve learnt in these 7 years – you are hopeful about the future of Academy?
Yes – I am very hopeful. You can’t jump to the 30th step at one go. You have to reach the 30th step after crossing all the 29 steps – one after another.
For last one year Academy does not have a sponsor. How are you managing it?
Some patrons of Mohun Bagan Club help the Academy in their personal capacities. But this is true that since we are not financially strong, rather we have cash crunch, we can’t take lot of initiatives. We tried to bring in foreign coach – but couldn’t continue with the foreign coach.
Is the club helping you?
100%. The name of the institute is more than enough. How can you have the Academy without Mohun Bagan?
Our ex-players, some of them coached our senior team as well, raise serious doubts about the Academy. You want to reply?
Look at our National Squad. We don’t have replacements of the national players whose average age is 35-36! Bhaichung Bhutia is the most valuable player of the national Squad! In this situation one should not raise doubts about the Academy. You can see the standard of the national team today. Our Academy is not out of the country, but Mohun Bagan is the only team from iLeague to have its senior team having a residential camp at the Academy.
This year 28 players have passed out of the Academy. They are playing in different clubs at the national level. What are your feelings about it?
No – I don’t think this to be a great success. But certainly, you can say this is a good beginning. Academy’s goal is to make sure that the supply line is active for the sake of Indian football and its future. But yes, for the first time in 7 years, so many boys have been recruited by the top level clubs. This is definitely a good sign. It’s a blessing for the Academy.
In various Academies of Europe and Latin America- they sell the players to earn money for running the Academy. Do you have any such plan?
Yes, we’ll start that from 2010. But not for an individual – it will be for the whole team. For this purpose – the whole team will be playing under the banner of "Southern Samity" in the next season.
We have noticed that a player have joined a Kolkata giant. But he didn’t want to disclose that he was from the Academy. What steps will you take to stop this kind of narrowness?
Yes, it’s setting a wrong example. But at the same time, the onus is upon the individual’s integrity. But we are also responsible. We must be cautious and should have a professional attitude to deal with situations like this.
Since many players have graduated out – you had to enroll many boys this year. How have you short-listed them?
We grossly depend upon the technical team for the same. Many ex-players have recommended many students. We also had gone out to various parts of the country to short-list the students. We have taken their trials. Each one has to come down and attend the trial conducted by the Academy. Chief Coach Anchery supervised the whole show. He suggested the candidates’ names’ for the final list. The final list was formed on the basis of his suggestions.
After Shyam Thapa left – Jo Paul Anchery is the chief coach. Are you happy with his performance so far?
It is too early for us to measure his performance. It’s a long way to go. We should not comment on the same.
What are your plans for improvement of the infrastructure? What steps will you take to achieve them?
Most important a quality football ground of our own. This is a must. We are constantly in touch with SAIL for the same. A multi-gym is a must. We must hire a quality foreign coach. But these all would only be achievable if we have a sponsor. So first and foremost – a Sponsor!
What are your expectations from the Fan clubs of Mohun Bagan?
I would love to have them come up and help the Academy. Let them become a part of the Academy. Without their participation, the Academy won’t be a successful one. I have learnt that Fan clubs and Fan forums are helping the senior team with various equipments. I shall be grateful if similar arrangements are made for the academy as well.
There are not much of colt / junior football tournaments in the country today. So, as a person who has seen the futures of Indian football for long – what will be your thoughts on the same?
I would first request the Federation that all the clubs that are participating in iLeague must have their own Academy. Once they have that – you’ll notice the juniors are becoming more competitive. I strongly believe that the quality will go up then. I also would like AIFF to fund the Academies in India. I am sure the quality will improve then.
Is the Academy thinking of participating in various International tournaments?
We must. Unless we go abroad, we won’t have any idea about the standard of the Academy. I strongly believe that our juniors are in a good position in Asian standard. We must attend two international football tournaments per year.
Is there an invitation from China? Is Academy participating?
The invitation we got from China is really a good one. That tournament will really help us. But we have a financial crunch. If we get a sponsor – that will e really helpful.
[For Mohunbaganclub.com – Sumanta Misra]