The Ozone FC club was launched in 2015 and provides football training for players besides taking care of basic needs, education.

How a Bengaluru football club is helping the underprivileged by sourcing local talent
Sports Sports Friday, May 18, 2018 - 20:09

“I don’t think there is any club in the country wherein you will find 70% of local players. Promotion of local football is one of the goals of Ozone FC club,” says Navneet Kaur, Head of Strategy and Business Development of Ozone FC.

Ozone FC is a professional football club based in Bengaluru which was launched in 2015. Recently, the senior team qualified for the group stage of I-league second division after an unbeaten run in the preliminary stage. 

The inception of the club

The club started due to the passion of Dr. Vasudevan who is the Chairman of Ozone Group - a real estate company in Bengaluru. He is a football fan and believes that football can bring about a change at both micro and macro levels through sports. 

The focus is on players at a micro level. They come from less fortunate socio-economic backgrounds, and face challenges to satisfy their basic needs. Their talent levels are less important since it’s difficult to develop in challenging environments. The club aims to provide them with an atmosphere that promotes true sporting spirit. Players receive adequate training along with their basic needs being tended to as well, in an attempt to bring about a change for them and their families.

At a macro level, sports has an inherent goal of bringing people together. The club has players from varied regions and religions, who come together and play as one team. 

Teams that are part of the club

The club has four categories viz. under-13, under-15, under-18 and the senior team who play the Bangalore super division and I-league second division. The under-15 and under-18 players are trained at the FSV arena, Hennur-Bagalur road, while the practice sessions for the under-13 and senior teams happen at Karnataka Football Association, Shanthala Nagar. “The performance of the club has been excellent so far. 2018 has been the best year. The senior team won the Bangalore Super Division and was unbeaten in all games in the preliminary round of I-league second division,” Kaur informed TNM. 

Ozone FC began participating in football leagues in 2015. The senior team emerged as winners of the Bangalore Super Division twice, first in 2015-16 and again in 2017-18. The under-18 has reached the final round of the under-18 league this year.     

Players in the club

The players generally come from across India, but the club focuses on grooming local talent. The club has about 25 local players. It has trained players from Gautampura, Murphy Town and Austin Town, who have gone on to play for Karnataka in the Santosh Trophy. Ozone FC’s Gunashekar Vignesh was named the captain. It also trains players from other parts of the country to keep up with Bengaluru’s cosmopolitan approach to include people from other states.  

The club is a non-profit one, where the under-13 and under-15 teams get free accommodation. They are given training, lodging, food and education.  

The Soccer School- an initiative for the future

The club aims to start a soccer school in a couple of months. The school aims to provide all- round development to football players, including female players. “This will ensure that football is gender-neutral, and both boys and girls play,” Kaur said. 

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