Football has grown immensely to become a primary sport in India. For Bhaichung Bhutia, to be able to produce players who can compete at a global level, BBFS need to not only scout and develop talent, but also create a nurturing environment that encourages the youth to take the necessary steps to pursue their passion with the right mentorship and training philosophies.
He believe that the next generation of India’s top players can be of international standards, and BBFS will work until the vision is achieved.
The school may go by Bhaichung’s name, however behind its name there are two other co-founders without whom Bhaichung Bhutia football schools(BBFS) wouldn’t have been conceivable. They are Anurag Khilnani and Kishore Taid, two football fans, college friends and now colleagues at work. Both are alumni of the prestigious IIT Delhi and also investment bankers previously, at Morgan Stanley.
The two IIT Delhi alumni decided to change this scenario and began applying their business acumen to build something around football.
The duo perceived that the issue began at school level, and if they desired India to qualify at the 2036 World Cup, every school in India would need a training academy today, and who could be better than a football public figure to promote the idea and take it forward, so the two along with torchbearer of Indian football, Bhaichung Bhutia, the trio founded Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools back in 2010.
BBFS, aspire footballers to receive specialised training along with their education. The academy is a place to nurture gifted where offer the right playing opportunities and groom the next generation of top-notch footballers in the country.
In its pan India presence, the academy has 84 centres with almost around 4000 players across the country.
Recently, BBFS has launched India’s first-ever football training app enJogo to provide training to footballers at home.
While discussing the journey and perspectives, Co-founder and CEO, BBFS, Kishore Taid caught up in an exclusive interview with Vishal Sharma.
Here are the excerpts from the interview:
Vishal Sharma: Firstly, I would like to ask you how have you been, and how’s the experience/feeling with BBFS so far?
Kishore Taid: It is a difficult time for everyone across the world. However, I feel privileged and proud to be a part of the team here at BBFS, which has responded with such character to this pandemic.
Vishal Sharma: When and why did Bhaichung Bhutia decide to set up BBFS?
Kishore: BBFS was set up in 2010. The purpose was to give an opportunity to every child in the country to play and learn from football. 10 years later, the purpose remains the same though the scale, insights and intensity have increased.
Vishal Sharma: How many schools are enrolled under this programme as of now? Also, how many years BBFS completes into football coaching?
Kishore: Prior to the COVID lockdown, we had 84 centers and were training more than 4000 players. During the lockdown we developed enJogo, to help people train whenever and wherever they want. Now, slowly things are opening up and so do our centers.
Vishal Sharma: Football is immensely popular in Kolkata and Goa, but you chose Delhi as your base. What was the reason behind your decision?
Kishore: Football is economically more viable in cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Further, both Anurag and I as co-founders have grown up in Delhi and so had a better support system here.
Vishal Sharma: How are you bringing a change into football development in India through Bhaichung Bhutia football schools(BBFS)?
Kishore: BBFS is a pioneer in the Small Sided Games (SSG) methodology that is the most prevalent way to train children across the world. With robust coach education, residential academies and a professional club (GFC), we are also the largest footballing entity in India in terms of reach and volume of work. This unique structure helps us to provide the right development pathway to any talented player or coach.
Vishal Sharma: Take us through your work force, which has been the engine of BBFS?
Kishore: We have a highly passionate and productive team comprising of people not just from football but also from backgrounds such as engineering and technology, marketing and communications, legal, management etc. It helps bring in an innovative culture that is unique and diverse at the same time.
Vishal Sharma: Tell us about your journey with BBFS so far as being the Co-founder?
Kishore: It has been a very fulfilling journey to have been able to positively influence the lives of thousands of players, coaches and other professionals through the medium of football. Football (and sports, in general) is quite under-rated as an educational tool, if implemented well it can be game changer for the well-being of our country.
Vishal Sharma: It’s been a decade, when you and Mr Anurag quit your banking jobs, and along Bhaichung Bhutia, founded the Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools (BBFS) back in 2010. What’s the idea behind and how you feel today in terms of progression and expectations?
Kishore: We have done a lot of work over the last decade. However, it still feels like day 1 and we are very excited to have started our journey in Sports Tech with the enJogo app. With the proper use of technology, possibilities are immense and COVID19 feels like an opportunity to make a fresh start.
Vishal Sharma: Could you please tell us about enJogo, India’s first football trainning app which you recently launched? What’s the perspective and how it’s gonna be beneficial to athletes?
Kishore: Playing sport comes naturally to people of all ages. However, millions of enthusiasts in India do not have access to structured sports training and guidance. With enJogo, we aim to change that. It has 1000s of drills, goal-based workout plans and also remote live coaching sessions. In future we shall add sports-based courses as well so that it becomes a one-stop shop for anyone who wishes to learn sports, both in theory and practice.
Vishal Sharma: At last I would like to ask you, where do you see BBFS in next couple of years?
Kishore: We are transforming BBFS into a technology-led company. Technology will lead our traditional businesses and widen our reach to every nook and corner of the country. At the same time, we will continue to invest in improving our technical expertise in football. These 2 techs (technology and technical expertise) combined will make us a one-of-its-kind Sports Tech company.
Writer – Vishal Sharma