Coming from Bommannahal mandal, Anantapur District with supportive parents who are farmers, P Hindu Kumar had never imagined that football would rescue him from the lack of employment opportunities in the district.
Having represented Andhra Pradesh in the Santosh trophy in 2016 and volunteered as a coach in the subsequent year at the sport development initiative Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA), P Hindu Kumar decided to bring a change in rural Anantapur through his passion for football. Hindu has embraced a sea of change starting young as a 15-year-old football player to adapting himself as a coach at ASA Football Academy.
Let’s catch up with P Hindu Kumar who is getting ready to leave for his evening coaching session at Anantapur Sports Village and know what’s so special about his story.
So Hindu, could you tell us how you joined Anantapur Sports Academy?
It all started back in the summer holidays of 2012, while skimming through a local newspaper, I happened to see a picture of a cricket stadium with mighty cricket pavilion and I thought to myself it must be somewhere in one of India’s big cities. Later, reading carefully I realised that it was in my district, Anantapur itself. With excitement, I read the whole article and got to know that there was a summer coaching camp to be held by a Spanish football club called Sant Cugat FC. No sooner I waited and decided to give it a shot and be a part of the summer football camp. That was it, soon I was selected to be a part of the residential football academy at ASA. The reason why I am here now.
How did you decide to take up football coaching as a career?
There was a lot of scope for improving the standard of football in Anantapur and in India since it’s comparatively a new sport to the Indian crowd. Even though we have talented individuals in rural India but lack of opportunities hinder them to showcase it. Realising this fact I knew I could bring a change in the present scenario with my passion for football and coaching the aspiring individuals in the district.
Another factor of my transition from player to a coach was the immense support provided by ASA to players like me who are interested in taking up coaching as a career. In that regard I started working hard and in August, 2017 cleared my AIFF (All India Football Federation) ‘D’ License certification and soon I started working as a volunteer football coach at ASA to gain more experience.
What do you want to teach using the medium of football ?
The football sessions at ASA are much more than just getting technically better from the training sessions, it also focuses on the holistic development of the child off the field. Moreover, excelling in after school life-skills and English classes are also emphasised. And I have seen children have become more confident and disciplined when I was the volunteer coach for U11 football team.
Seeing his growth and passion for football, he got the opportunity to coach at Pro Sport Development’s summer Football camp in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. It was a first time experience for Hindu Kumar to coach outside Anantapur and Andhra Pradesh. He was responsible for preparing the 72 girls and 112 boys from 6 different centres part of Pro Sport Development’s Community Sports Program to learn the basics of football for a Mixed Gender Football Cup in Bhubaneswar.
What was your experience of coaching in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha and what were the learning outcomes for yourself?
It was a first time experience for me to travel alone on the train and coaching outside Andhra Pradesh. I was excited to share my knowledge of football with the children and coaches of the community sports program part of Pro Sport Development (PSD). The enthusiasm and eagerness to learn about football among the girls and boys was something I will never forget.
“I love playing football. This camp really helped me work on my game. I hope to one day play like Sunil Chhetri”, said Rishav Swain a class 6 student at the football camp, who dreams to take up the sport professionally and play for India in the future.
Travelling outside Andhra Pradesh also convinced me there is so much learn and develop ourselves. I have learnt a great deal from the fun-games part of the
PSD’s curriculum and I plan to make use of those games in my sessions at ASA.
Where would you like to see yourself five years from now on?
I would like to clear all the AIFF football certifications and take ASA Football program to higher levels of competition in India and few players playing for India.
Hindu has transitioned himself very well from a football player to a coach, something not many his age are able to do. He aims to provide the children in Anantapur an alternative through sports. “Hindu has always been keen on learning, but the biggest difference he made was when he started coaching and I think ASA has given him a great platform to grow professionally and personally. He has a great potential to succeed and make it big”, says Miquel Llado, Technical Director of ASA Football Academy.
Making India a great sporting nation is not a distant dream if all the stakeholders work towards it. An important piece of the puzzle is to provide access of sports like football to rural youth, though capable and motivated coaches liked Hindu, who prove that trajectory of football in India is in right track starting from the grassroots.