Former India international Carlton Chapman has had a long association with the Tata Football Academy (TFA). However,after spending almost two decades at the academy in various capacities from a first-batch trainee in 1989,till 2008,when he was a coach the 37-year old has now decided to part ways,setting up a new private club,the Jaipur-based Royal FC. The decision severs his long ties with the TFA,but Chapman insists he has perfected his timing despite the emotional obligations.
I was looking forward to coach a senior team after spending seven years at the TFA as assistant coach. My tryst with the TFA is now officially over and it was difficult to leave the place where Id been for so long. But I think I had to take a call. The academy should try to appoint an ex-TFA cadet because theres no better option, he said.
The former East Bengal player is banking on his seven years experience (2002-08) for his first step into professional football as a mentor. The experience at the TFA would definitely have an influence. The process would remain the same,yet different as its the academy.
A different challenge
But while a youngster making a mistake at the academy gets another chance while in professional football,theres no second chance. I have to be stricter. That would be the only difference, Chapman added. At the academy you deal with novices,here well have readymade players. But that doesnt make the job any easier. Its challenging too,but in a different way.
Chapman was at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium keeping an eye on the second division I-league on Monday. It might be player-hunting that brought him here but the road ahead looks long and tiring.
We will be travelling to Goa and Chennai during the under-21 nationals,and the Santosh Trophy in the coming months,to see players. We are looking to build a very young team and eyeing the I-League straightaway, added Chapman.
Arrangements are on to meet the AFC criteria for qualification as well. Since one of the stipulated conditions is to have several age-group teams,Chapman is planning to work on that aspect as well. Well begin with the under-13,16 and 19 teams and an academy. The club is already registered with the Rajasthan Football Association, he said.