Venky wants to expand his Indian football academy

In his effort to give back something to the sport with which he rose to fame, former India captain Shanmugham Venkates set up the Venky Football Academy in his home town, Srianapuram in Bangalore to tap young football talent. “I have achieved whatever there is to achieve in club football but, in the international football arena, we have achieved nothing”, the Mahindra midfielder told the Goa Herald. It is this desire that drove Venkatesh to start the school 14 months ago on the grounds of his old school, Shiva Ashram High. The academy now has over 50 students in U-12 and U-14 categories and training sessions are held in the evening under floodlights.

“I am planning to turn it a full-fledged Academy and I am on the look out for a sponsor,” he said. "The strategy is simple: Catch them young and give them the best in terms of training in terms of modern tactics, physical and psychological conditioning and related inputs. Expose the students to competition, put into the main stream to seek a career in professional football. A lot of children now want to take up soccer. There is future in it. Moreover, the TV has changed the way people think about the game in India. Even a club footballer in the country nowadays makes a decent living,” he said