Ever missed a football culture?

Rounak Majumdar
4 min read
November 29, 2021

What separates a winner from the rest? 

Passion? Yes. 

Mentality? Sure. 

Talent? Maybe. 

But, what is the most important quality that a winner must possess? 


Persistence by nature is a result of the people you surround yourself with. It is about being a part of the right culture.

There’s a famous quote by Jim Rohn, which states, “You become the average of the five people you surround yourself with”. 

It is true, as humans, we tend to learn faster from our surroundings. And this is more evident for youngsters.

The future of sports in India depends on our ability to create these conducive environments for like-minded professionals to work in cohesion. Achieving the same requires the right approach. In one of our previous editions, we proposed India’s requirement to build the IITs and IIMs of sport for the upcoming generations to excel. 

“The problem is deep-rooted in culture. I think every Indian city has adequate resources, but we don’t have the right approach to facilitate our kids. It’s not just about developing the coaches, infrastructure, etc. Every school has school grounds, but the authorities just don’t like neighborhood children coming inside the campus and playing. We should first focus on creating an environment that encourages children to play“, informed Kishore Taid, CEO of enJogo and Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools.  

In 2018, Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools (BBFS) partnered with Vedas International School, a Delhi-based boarding school to create a first of its kind Residential Academy for football in India. 

The curriculum, which CBSE backs, emphasizes sports and is designed to help youngsters have a defined pathway into professional football while excelling in academics. 

Learning from peers can be fun and insightful

But what is a Residential Academy? And how does it differ from a boarding school? 

“I had heard about residential academies in Europe, not in India. The famous ones like the Manchester United academy, which has helped players like David Beckham start their football journey, was all that I knew about Residential Academies. So, I was not sure what it would be like here in India. But ever since I have come here, my life has transformed,” said Achutharaman, a class XII student at BBFS Residential Academy, Delhi. 

“No matter what, discipline is of utmost importance here. And it is not just about sports; we are required to balance academics simultaneously alongside other activities. Adapting in the initial days was not easy. But over the years, I have learned about my strengths, and now I am solely focused on improving myself. Before I joined BBFS, I never followed any schedule; but now, I can’t think of living without one. I have to do something productive everyday and physical fitness needs to be a part of my daily routine. This transformation has only been possible because I’m surrounded by like-minded people here who push my limits,” continued Achutharaman, who joined the Residential Academy in 2018. 

Achutharaman is from Kerala, and initially, his main challenge was communication. Being shy, he found it difficult to speak with peers. Also, language was a barrier. He didn’t speak Hindi.   

Over the years, alongside his daily routine, he has changed himself through various workshops, competitive exposures, and individual guidance.

Within three years, a person who was shy to speak has become a charming personality adored by all. He is also one of the most promising performers in competitions.  

“The ultimate goal at the residential academy is to develop our student-athletes both on and off the field. The first step is to create a culture of inclusivity. When a new player joins, we group them with a senior. This is known as the ‘buddy system’, where a senior guides a newcomer with all requirements. Further, coaches spend time with the new joiners via individual sessions. Every month, a coach updates the parents about the student’s whereabouts and, in the process, learns more about the student. Once they get accustomed, we teach them to guide their juniors. Knowledge enhancement and collective improvement are essential components of our curriculum,” informed Vivek Rawat, the Technical Director of the BBFS Residential Academy at Vedas International School . 

Right culture, better future

Alongside their routine, student-athletes are made to participate in various competitions throughout the year. These competitions not only help in creating meaningful relationships but forge lifetime memories. Before COVID, students of Vedas International School traveled to Singapore twice in 2018 and 2019 to play the Singa Cup. There, our athletes represented BBFS and India at a global level playing against teams from Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. 

“One of the best moments for me at BBFS was traveling to Singapore with my batchmates. The exposure was unparalleled. Over the years, I have played 20+ tournaments which have made me more confident as a player, and my friends have become my family,” said Achutharaman. 

Since most of the youngsters are in their adolescence, they are guided for all their requirements ranging from academics, sports, and their personal development by a Residential Academy manager.  

“The biggest responsibility for me here is to counsel my students. Now you’ve multiple options to choose from. The opportunities in the field of sports are ever-evolving and sports is a billion dollar business in India. So, even if you can’t become an elite sportsman, you can get into the backend of sports if a traditional job doesn’t enthuse you. There are lucrative opportunities in coaching, sports analytics, sports marketing, player representation, and related domains. I encourage our students to enjoy the process and not stress too much about the results. Personally, for me, I love seeing them do well, and I aim to motivate each of them to stay happy and try achieving their best potential,” said Mithun, the Residential Academy manager at Vedas International School. 

Currently, Bhaichung Bhutia Football School has four Residential Academies in Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Kerala. Over the years, BBFS has trained 15,000+ student-athletes and produced 750+ national players.

Read more about BBFS Residential Academy

Download enJogo, India’s first football learning app on Android and iOS

Read the last five editions from The Dugout:  

#20 Sleep your way to success

#19 From Grassroots to Pro: The journey of an Indian football coach

#18 Lionel, not Messi

#17 Nothing about football

#16: I am a stubborn woman