Saturday, July 07, 2007

Viva Kerala aims be a model 'professional club'

Formed two years ago in Kochi, new Indian National League participant, Viva Kerala FC, has been converted to a private limited company. "Now we are thinking of launching an Initial Public Offer (IPO) in the near future to make the club a public limited company.” VM Liaqat Ali, one of the founder members and one of the company's five directors, told Sudeep Pakrashi of Express India.

“Viva Kerala has already been able to generate a lot of enthusiasm among the Malayali people and other soccer-loving people of the state. So we are going to build a fan club soon. The fan club will have several activities that can earn revenue for the club. Plans are on to produce sports goods from the club and generate franchisee business through sports gear outlets all over the state. In this way, we can be self-dependent, apart from getting good sponsorships by the end of this year. But the success of all these projects will depend on our senior team’s performance in key championships this season,” Ali explained.

Through the club's youth development program, eight 18-year old Kerala boys have been identified by senior coach Sreedharan and introduced to the next training stage under a qualified Ghanaian coach. “We have plans that the Ghanaian coach will also work as technical director with Sreedharan along with his own training of the eight junior boys,” a club official said. Sreedharan is optimistic about the club's maiden performance in the national competition. “We have a balanced side with a mixture of youth and experience. In addition, I believe our three foreigners [including striker Abbey Wisdom who represented Ghana in the U-20 FIFA World Cup and central defender Amankwa Mireku who represented Ghana in World Cup qualifiers] will draw all attention by the end of the league."

The club has leased a big ground from fertilizer company FACT and acquired adjacent cottages for youth and senior team members. “I will make an appeal to the All India Football Federation secretariat to get the opportunity to host our home matches in Kochi,” Ali said.

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