Quartz Soccer Club's (QSC) first steps in the All India Football Federation's I-League second division will be with a bold new experiment. Among 20 teams given provisional clearance to the 2011-2012 season, some features set the side quite apart.
Headquartered in Kozhikode, Kerala, the 30-member team comprises players mostly from Andhra Pradesh — 18 of them from QSC's academy at Secunderabad's Gymkhana Grounds, six sourced from selection trials across AP and six loaned from all over India. Although the average age is 19, giving teeth to its campaign will be three Nigerians — Emmanuel Aja, 24, Igwe Nnaemeka, 21 and Pedro Inegbeniki, 21. Under the bar is former Indian custodian Felix Edward.
The back-up team is equally impressive. The coach, presently contracted for a year, is Frank Braner, a Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) B Licence holder from Germany, who has conducted clinics in Kerala and Odisha in the past.
John G. Shulman, who led the Harvard Law School soccer team in his varsity days, will be the manager. He was also the first player from the western hemisphere to play the sport in the Indian league. The Technical Director is Aleem Khan, a former international.
“Sponsors have been showing interest in our side but we are looking at a long-term association, say five years, which would be mutually beneficial,” said Mrs. Amitha Kommadath, a Director with QSC. “Thanks to K.T. Mahi, our team has been residing and training at Srinidhi International School from July and will continue until the I League commences,” she added.
The educational institution's sylvan 60-acre spread, with its multi-discipline facilities, provides the perfect platform to launch the raw yet strong squad's campaign.