Kerala Blasters will start India's first goalkeeping academy

KOCHI: After a below-average performance last season, where they finished ninth in the league, the Kerala Blasters are making the right noises before the sixth season of ISL.

After partying before the next ISL season, the Blasters are now ready to launch a goalkeeping academy in Kochi. Although the exact date of the launch has not yet been decided, this will be the first academy dedicated exclusively to goalkeepers in India.

And the man who was entrusted with the task of raising goalkeeping talents will be the former Newcastle United player. John Burridge . Burridge comes with the experience of playing 771 games in the English and Scottish leagues.

The 67-year-old Englishman has previously worked as goalkeeping coach for Al Ain Football Club in the United Arab Emirates and with the national team of Oman. But a series of bad results for Oman caused Burridge to lose his job in Oman in 2011. However, that has not deterred Blasters from attacking in Burridge. And they have a clear idea of ​​why they are attacking a coach exclusively to train the goalkeepers.

Being a goalkeeper requires a specific set of skills and attributes. This requires a specialized training approach. Our goal is to convert young Indian talents so that they become the best and most sought after in the world. players with the right physical attributes and skills to start the academy. With the experience and skill that John brings to the table, he will be an undisputed consultant-coach for the academy. said Blasters CEO Viren D'Silva.

The initial focus of the academy will be on the senior team and the reserves before moving on to the youth teams in the later stages. The club also plans to give international exposure to the goalkeepers of the youth teams.

Kerala Blasters in the early seasons had in their ranks the former England goalkeeper David James, Graham Stack of Arsenal and Paul Rachubka of Manchetser United. But this year, it is likely that the side of Kerala has an Indian under the bar, since they have not yet signed a foreign goalkeeper.

They have already signed TP Rehenesh of NEUFC and Shibin Raj Kunniyil of Gokulam Kerala FC, who were the No.1 goalkeepers of their respective clubs. They also have in their squad Bilal Khan, who had a series of impressive performances for Gokulam and Kerala and Real Kashmir. Apart from this, they have Sujith S, who is considered a potential future and Lovepreet Singh in his reserve team.

And Burridge will be in charge of these goalkeepers during the first days of the academy's launch. I am totally impressed by Kerala's enthusiasm for this sport. I am sure that this place would be a group of talents for football. We plan to train young people in goal maintenance and we hope to form a next generation of goalkeepers for Kerala and India, Burridge said.