Coaching kids might look like it’s all about dragging a ball bag around and telling an unruly bunch to “behave” and “pay attention,” but there’s definitely more than what meets the eye. If that sounds like an exaggeration, meet Salim of Poolakadavu Football Academy (PFA), who believes training children is all about knowledge, patience and organization.
Salim is not a professional coach, but he's a football lover. And according to him, you are encouraging a love of the sport that will hopefully last a lifetime when you provide good coaching at junior, sub-junior level.
Five years ago, when Salim started the football academy at Poolakadavu in Calicut, he just had 30 kids under his wings. He also didn’t have a KFDA accreditation. But that didn’t deter him in any way. Come rain or shine, Salim and his kids will be at the Poolakadavu Corporation Mini Stadium, undergoing rigorous training and practice sessions.
Salim would teach them to take risks on the playing field and not to let the fear of failure hold back their willingness to take a chance. He would happily don the roles of a teacher, a babysitter, a doctor, a friend and a babysitter for his little sportsmen.
The PFA rose to fame when Salim’s kids started winning local tournaments. Today, the academy has a KFDA accreditation to boast of, and more than 50 kids who belong to different age groups are trained here for free. Yes, you read it right; Salim does not charge a rupee from the kids as a majority of them cannot afford it. He also provides them with free football kits and boots.
The academy now has five coaches on board. While Vincent, Raghavan and Antony train the two junior batches, K. Akhilesh Kumar and V.A. Subin tutor the sub-junior batch.
Team PFC is now a force to be reckoned with. At last year’s EC Bharathan Tournament, the PFC kids won the runner’s up trophy and proved they shouldn’t be taken lightly.
But winning trophies is not the sole aim of Salim’s academy: it’s about spreading soccer love. To serve the purpose, the academy had organized a three-day football tournament last year and around 47 matches were conducted as part of it. The academy is planning to conduct an Under-15 All Kerala Football Tournament this year too.
The PFA now runs with the help of the football enthusiasts of Poolakadavu, but Salim hopes that a few sponsors would come forward to help the club financially as the club ventures into new endeavors.