SHILLONG: 3rd April 2023 (PTI Source)
A talented 17-year-old football player, Federick Kupar Kurbah from Meghalaya, recently received an incredible opportunity to develop his skills at the famous turf of Manchester United. He was one of the four young players selected from over 5,000 participants in the finale of Apollo Tyres’ "United We Play" program which is supported by Manchester United. The other three players were RS Preyarhanjan from Chennai, Ronald Singh from Chandigarh, and Kunal Yeole from Pune.
During the program, the young players got to participate in various exciting activities, including a matchday experience, a training session with the coaches of Manchester United’s Soccer School, and interactions with the club's legends. The "United We Play" initiative is Apollo Tyres’ grassroots football supported by Manchester United, that aims to encourage young talent from across India by giving them a platform to showcase their skills and introduce them to global training methodologies.
Federick grew up in a humble family, with his single mother raising him and his three siblings. He started playing football with his friends from the neighbourhood when he was very young. Federick's grandmother and uncle, both football fanatics, recognized his potential, and encouraged him to make a career out of it. Federick became a massive Neymar fan, and started training under his school coach when he was in Class 6. He continued to train, dedicating himself to football and academics, until the pandemic disrupted everything. Despite this, Federick persevered and continued his training at home, studying various techniques online from his favorite player.
Federick's hard work and dedication paid off when he got through the initial trial rounds at Polo Ground, Shillong, and qualified for the grand finale in Chennai. There, he impressed everyone with his skills and ability, earning himself a place in the program's final four.
After his memorable visit to Manchester United, Federick shared his excitement, saying, "I am overwhelmed with happiness and enthusiasm after my visit to Manchester United. Meeting the club's legends was just one part of the experience, as we also had the opportunity to interact with U-18 teams and several players from the first team. The highlight for me was the training we received at the Go The Distance pitch and at the Carrington training ground. It was indeed a memorable trip for me."
The second season trials of "United We Play" were held in a hybrid format across nineteen (19) venues in India, comprising ten (10) masterclasses and virtual workshops across twelve markets, as well as an on-ground leg is being held across eight (8) markets in two (2) phases. More than 5,000 aspiring players participated in the program.