statesman news service
KOLKATA, 19 JUNE: Surprising as it may seem, young Indian footballers fared better than most of their European counterparts, even the mighty Brazilians. That is what Akash Mandal found out, much to his delight. “Even Bayern Munich&’s youth team coaches were surprised by our performance. There were two or three good players among each of the other participating nations, but the five of us, selected from India, functioned as a unit and played well,” he added.  Akash, a class 11 student of St Xavier’s, Kolkata, was one of last year&’s lucky five to be a part of the international training camp held in Munich, Germany, organised by Bajaj Allainz.
“What was lacking in us was confidence. Initially, we were overwhelmed by the occasion and the atmosphere, but once we were groomed by the trainers, we started to find our feet," Akash said.
A year later, Akash considers this ‘confidence’ to be the most important element gleaned from his trip. “That is where the Bajaj Allianz Junior Football Camp has helped me. Plus, I got an autographed shirt from Bastian Schweinsteiger,” a beaming Akash added. 
Now in its fourth year, the Bajaj Allianz Junior Football Camp aims to provide a platform for young talents to compete on the global stage. This year also, five students, from over 800 schools in 120 cities of India, will get a chance to live their dream ~ meet the stars of Bayern Munich FC and train under the coaches of its youth team ~ in August, 2013.