In an attempt to promote football in a cricket-crazy country and attract youth to the sport, former England [ Images ] and Liverpool player Steve McMahon announced the launch of 'Steve McMahon Football Academy' in Delhi [ Images ] on Wednesday, in association with the British club.
The former Liverpool legend, who is well-known to Indian football fans as an expert analyst, said it was the passion and commitment for the sport in the country that made him come up with the idea of establishing the academy.
"I have been associated with this part of the world since last four-five years. The passion and commitment for the sport here is incredible. I approached my former club and they seemed to be interested too," said McMahon.
"There has to be development programme for the aspiring kids, teaching them in the right way. And if even one of the kids from this academy makes a mark at the international level it will be a big achievement," said the former football great, while insisting that things won't happen overnight.
The first of the official Liverpool academies in India [ Images ] is planning to open four centres across Delhi and national capital region (NCR) with the Genesis school in Noida being the first, informed McMahon, who will be the head coach and chief mentor of the academy.
He, however, did not divulge details of other facilities, but said that they are close to finalising the second venue and added that the other centres will take some time.
The academy will be functional from the first week of October and envisages to enroll about 500 kids in different age groups at each of its two centres, the former England international informed.
Asked why did the club chose Delhi instead of Kolkata [ Images ], a city with a bigger fan base for the game, McMahon said, "It is just the beginning," and added that they will be looking ahead to establish their centres across the country.