After a last night in England in which im relatively sure we were cheated out of the Pub Quiz jackpot and an airport meal with my parents Wednesday evening saw me on the BA overnight plane to Delhi. The flight itself was comfortable after me and the Danish bloke in the window seat totally ignored the woman in the middle’s plea’s to swap with one of us, leading to her leaving to sit somewhere else and us securing extra bag space and 100% armrest domination. Despite the flight being an overnighter I didnt manage any sleep as, after watching moneyball, I saw the Lion King was an option which really forced my hand.
Soon after watching Simba, Timon and Pumba triumph over Scar it was time to land, upon arrival in Delhi I was greeted by Anuj, a coach from the programme, and Vinod who deals with administration with a sign saying ‘Adam Campbell, Arsenal FC’ which was pretty cool. After Ali arrived they gave us a lift to our apartment in Vasant Vihar in South Delhi, this journey gave us our first experience of Delhi roads, with one guy casually cruising the wrong way down a dual carriageway.
When we arrived we were welcomed by our chef Robi with vegetable curry, rice and daal which was fantastic before crashing out at about 1 o clock in the afternoon and waking up for dinner 12 hours later.
On our second day in Delhi we were shown around the headquarters of the India Youth Soccer Association where we will be coaching for the next 3 months, whilst here Arup who runs the organisation gave us an overview of both our activities and the scale of the coaching undertaken there. IYSA run coaching sessions five days a week for over 150 kids split up into 3 age groups- u11s, u14s and u16- with the u16 ‘level one’ players, the most advanced in the programme, coming 6 days a week! At our meeting Arup, after telling us we had missed the biggest game in Delhi for 20 years, India v Bayern Munich! (4-0 Bayern), informed us that whilst here we will be in charge of on pitch activities during our stay, running coaching sessions for all age groups as well as managing under14s teams on Sunday at the inter-IYSA tournament between ‘Eleven Aces’ ‘Serious Cyclones’ ‘Lightning Strikers’ and ‘Ten Hurricanes’. After this meeting we also had a chance to watch a session and meet some of the other coaches, all of whom are ex-Delhi State level players now retired, Anuj is the youngest of these and when we asked why he doesnt play any more he replied with two words ‘bicycle kick’- Hero, what a way to go. Whilst watching the under14s session in progress I also made a rookie mistake by tackling one of the u11s kids who had come for a kickabout on the other pitch, this resulted in me and Ali spending the next two hours with seemingly tireless 11 years olds lining up to try and take us on. After training we were took on a quick tour of our local area on Anuj and Vinod’s motorbikes, another eye-opening experience of Dehli’s roads, before going home and straight to bed.