A joint endeavour between Liverpool Football Club’s international football academy and Pune’s DSK Shivajians has received a big push with 37 players selected out of a first round of trails in Goa, Aizwal and Shillong. The trials were conducted by Liverpool coaches Ray Curtis and Michael Rice. The next round of trials will be held in Mumbai (April 10-11 for members children of Cricket Club of India (CCI) and 25-26 at the WIFA, Cooperage), Delhi (April 19-20) and Pune (April 30 to May 4).

Promoted by Shirish Kulkarni, president, LFC International Football Academy-DSK Shivajians, the programme will offer residential training to 64 boys in the under-17 and under-19 age groups together. Young footballers - born on or between May 31, 1998 and June 1, 1999 for under-17 and born on or between May 31, 1996 and June 1, 1997 for under-19 - can register for selection trails at www.lfc-dskacademy.co.in . “Selection will be merit-based, quality is paramount,’’ said Kulkarni at a media conference at the CCI here on Monday.

The final selection process for the first academic year will be completed on June 1 at the DSK International Campus, Pune. The programme will cost a fee of Rs. 3.5 lakh a year for those selected in the under-17 group and a fee of Rs. 4. 5 lakh a year for those in the under-19 group. But about ten players are likely to be offered scholarship. “The LFC international academy is quite different from the Soccer Schools programmes. We hope that a few would make it to the English Premier League or Spanish League in the course of the next five years,’’ said Kulkarni..

“Ours is a club known for cricket, squash and badminton. But we have 60 boys in our in house football clinic. They will get the benefit of some international class coaching.’’ said Sachin Bajaj, Executive Committee Member and Vice-Chairman, other sports sub-committee, CCI.

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