Acclaimed cricketers by profession, football is pastime as well as passion for Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, who launched sportswear giant Adidas’ first-ever urban football destination — the Base, Plaza — in India in a bid to promote the sport at the grassroot level.
While Rohit called it his “second love” after cricket, Rahul went a step further and said the beautiful game was his “first love”.
The Base, Plaza is designed to provide football enthusiasts a world class experience. It was designed keeping in mind the needs of the new age urban footballer and aims at redefining their playing experience.
To kick off the inauguration, present on the occasion were ace India cricketers and adidas brand ambassadors Rohit and Rahul along with former Nigerian FIFA World Cup player, Rabiu Afolabi.
Sporting a Real Madrid jersey, Rohit said, “adidas has been taking many significant initiatives to promote football in India. The BASE is a top-notch facility built to international standards and is ideal for young footballers to enjoy their football and nurture their skills.
“I am a die-hard football fan myself and my love for Real Madrid makes the sport extremely close to my heart. As an athlete, I am very glad to be a part of such an initiative by adidas and invite all young football creators and lovers to experience this fantastic facility.”
Rahul, who was wearing the shirt of his favourite team Manchester United, said, “Football is my passion and Manchester United is the team I have been rooting for ever since I was introduced to the sport. I play football regularly in the off-season and during warm up before matches.
“I have had the chance to tour the BASE and experience its facilities, which are second to none in India. It’s indeed a great platform for young football creators and fans to experience the game in a thoroughly beautiful setting.”
Spread across a sprawling 2.5 acres, the Base features two pitches — a natural pitch of 24,000 sq. ft. which can be split up into two small pitches for 5/6-a-side football and an artificial pitch of 9,000 sq. ft.
The artificial pitch is made up of the finest quality FIFA Recommended artificial turf and is ideal for professional and semi-professional use. It uses innovative 3D Rootzone technology with a face yarn of 10,000 denier XP + Slit Film, and 5,000 denier polylon as secondary fibre.
This technology reduces strain on players’ knees and ankles, allowing them to move swiftly and quickly across the pitch, thereby minimising the risk of injuries. Each pitch has an individual Ace and X style dugout to ensure a stadium-like atmosphere for the urban football creators.
Commenting on the launch, Hrishikesh Shende, Director Football, adidas India, said, “Football in India is growing rapidly with many young players aspiring to turn professional.
We are extremely delighted to provide a world-class facility for the next generation of footballers. the BASE in Delhi will become a focal point of grassroots football and we are looking to take the concept to other metros this year.”
Speaking on the occasion, Afolabi said, “Football is like second nature and even after my retirement, I have been closely involved with the sport through football coaching and scouting for talent at junior levels. Am extremely honoured to be a part of adidas’ initiative to promote football in India.
“I strongly believe that the young talent in India has immense potential to make a mark on global football map and I look forward to my close involvement with the players through adidas.”