Dreams Come True At The AirAsia-QPR Coaching Clinic 2013
13 Nov 2013
After celebrating his 16th birthday on Tuesday, Shanthana Barthi from Taman Jurong received a spectacular birthday present today, thanks to the generosity and community spirit of AirAsia and the Queen’s Park Rangers Football Club from London.
Barthi is getting a week-long training stint at the Queens Park Rangers (QPR) FC Academy in Loftus Road, London.
“I am thrilled,” said the near-speechless student from the Beacon of Life Football Academy. A regular feature at the SportCares Saturday Night Lights football programme, Barthi recovered long enough from his shock to say: “I am so grateful to QPR and AirAsia for this opportunity.”
Barthi was one of about 125 local youth who have taken part in QPR workshops in Singapore this week. Young players from the National Football Association, the Singapore Sports School and SportCares were all given training time with the QPR Trust coaching quartet as well as a few precious tickets for an AirAsia trip to London in 2014.
Taking notes on the boys at the SportCares session were Coaches Martino Chevannes, Danny Edwards, Stephen McCarthy and Adam McLachlan at The Cage Sports Park in Turf City. The clinic, jointly organised by AirAsia and QPR, is part of a 10-day coaching clinic tour, where coaches attached with the QPR in the Community Trust program reach out to students in schools and young players in the local communities to help in their development of football.
AirAsia’s Tony Fernandes has never shied away from developing talent from the ground up, and this philosophy is visible in the QPR strategy towards youth development. “Our aim is to go out to Asia and improve the ability of their young footballers through a variety of different coaching sessions,” said Andy Evans, CEO of QPR in the Community Trust.
“We are giving them the opportunity to step up and to show us what they got in terms of their talent for the game because we realise there are so many young people across this region who love the game have skills, have ability but perhaps are not able to showcase it," he said.
Some 32 boys from Saturday Night Lights trained under the watchful eyes of the QPR coaches. After the training today, several players were recognised with trophies and certificates of merit for their good football skills, improvement during the session and good sportsmanship. “Last summer’s pre-season tour to Asia gave us an idea of the passion people here have for our national sport and we are excited about the prospect of finding fresh talent in their region,” Andy said.
For Barthi, “the session today was quite demanding, but I am certain it will help me in the long run. I really hope to gain invaluable knowledge and experience from this stint to develop me further as a footballer.” In London, he will rub shoulders with the senior players from QPR to learn their training routines and other aspects of professional football.
The QPR Coaching Clinic Tour 2013 will be moving across the Causeway tomorrow to give Malaysians the opportunity to show off their football skills and also to reach out to the local community there.