Shebby Singh, former Malaysian defender and current football pundit on ESPN-Star, has accepted the position of Head - Football Development India/Asia at English Premier League club Blackburn Rovers.
Back in June, he praised Indian firm Venky's take-over of Blackburn as fundamentally different from other recent changes in EPL club ownership, thanks to their plans of launching an academy and a football club in India. “I see it as more of a commitment to developing football in India rather than just a commercial venture,” he said.
Singh also identified two areas that need to be addressed for the game to grow in India.
“One is youth development. Children have to be playing every day. There has to be some form of organised competition. I don't think under-12s should be playing 11-a-side. Play five-a-side, but with football rules, and not futsal rules.
"The other is to educate the coaches. You've got to have a lot more coaches, a lot more people taking the courses and getting licences. It cannot be an elitist group. The more coaches you have, the more the game can spread. And the coaches need to constantly update their education, keep taking refresher courses,”
Asked then whether he'd take a role with Blackburn Rovers, he answered: “If the right opportunity is there, I would certainly give it a thought. I would like to use my experience in football to manage or coach players in top flight.”
According to The People, he hopes to get Blackburn Rovers ahead in India through a concerted push. “Who knows, we might find some ‘slumdog footballers’ emerging as Venky’s are keen on starting with boys aged 10 to 14 who can demonstrate the right skills. We will unearth potentially outstanding talent for Blackburn.”
Singh is also, reportedly, a franchisee of FIELDTURF, a third generation artificial grass surface that is suitable for sports fields, golf and landscaping.