It is a visit of firsts for Chelsea in Indonesia and added to the list this week is the work of our Foundation coaches in Jakarta, which was assisted on Wednesday afternoon by four of the first team squad.
Coaching sessions for local youngsters, organised with the aid of club sponsor Samsung, have taken place before and throughout the team’s stay in the city, and bringing their skills, enthusiasm and expertise to today’s session were Branislav Ivanovic, Nathaniel Chalobah and Brazilian pair Ramires and Lucas Piazon.
These coaching clinics are examples of the activity that will take place at a Blue Pitch in Jakarta which Chelsea will be opening soon. It will host soccer schools run in partnership with the Chelsea Foundation.
As has been the case ever since the team touched down on Tuesday lunchtime, a crowd of fans were waiting to greet the players at today’s event, which was located in the shadow of the stadium where the team train and will play the game.
Inside the perimeter the players took 45 youngsters invited by Samsung through an array of dribbling and shooting drills, before answering questions ranged from wanting to know the name of one of the player’s first club, to a request to list every trophy he has won.
‘It is great to have the opportunity to come here and give the kids some coaching and motivation,’ said Ivanovic afterwards, ‘and we enjoy it and it’s important for the children to enjoy it too. After we are gone what is good is that they can continue to learn from Chelsea coaches.’
His thoughts were echoed by Chalobah.
‘A lot of the kids here are talented and they are hungry to be footballers like we are,’ said the England Under-21 international.
‘They all looked like they were having fun and that is the most important thing because when I was that age, I just enjoyed football with my friends and that is what a lot of them are doing at the moment. I saw a few good players out there.’
For Andy Ottley, one of the Foundation’s international coaches, this beginning to the club’s long-term project in Indonesia has been one to remember.
‘The skills of the young players have been fantastic and you can tell straight away they have a real love for football and Chelsea.
‘I don’t think I have seen so many blue Chelsea shirts without any other colour at one of these events so that was a great welcome, and there are a few Lampard and Torres goal celebrations so they clearly follow the team.
‘They have had a great attitude in the heat and the support Samsung give us with these events is fantastic. To give these Chelsea fans a real Chelsea experience of how we do these things back home is something I am sure they will never forget.
‘We will be back out here during the year training the local coaches and giving the kids some more sessions.’
Ian Woodroffe, Chelsea Foundation’s international development manager, explains how the involvement in a new territory develops.
‘The focus wherever we go is to leave a Blue Pitch and a soccer school partnership and that will open here in the coming months, so it is imbedded in the community to offer opportunities for young people from age four upwards and older people as well.
‘We find the right partnership locally and there may be a school already existing or a new one starting that has the right outlook, and a lot of research goes into that.
‘We also find the right location with a population interested in football and then we initiate getting the facility. We start training the coaches and putting the programmes in place.’