SANJIV SARAN MEHRA, the Programme Director of the Mumbai Soccer Challenge (MSC), has heaped praise on the effort, commitment and passion of QPR this week.
The MSC has been set up to provide the Indian city with first-class training from QPR coaches, and the spirit of the club has won rave reviews.
Five Mumbai teenagers - Rudolf D'Souza (13), Arfat Ansari (15), Tanaay Shah (15), Uzair Ansari (15) and Praful Kumar (16) – are currently enjoying a three-week training camp with the QPR Academy, at their Concorde Club base near Harlington.
And Saran Mehra told www.qpr.co.uk
: “I must compliment and applaud QPR. It is the only club that has conducted an activity of this kind in the country. Many clubs just come to India to try to sell their jerseys and merchandise, but QPR have shown a great spirit.”
As the MSC heads into its fifth year, Saran Mehra says he has been delighted with how much the scheme has come on, and is particularly grateful to QPR Vice-Chairman Amit Bhatia.
“It has come on leaps and bounds,” he added. “In the first year we had 1,350 children participating. Last year there were 4,100 boys and girls involved. For 85 per cent of participants, this is the first football event of their lives.
“It is a great model of what a community football event should be about.
"It is thanks to the initiative of Mr Amit Bhatia and Mr Milind Deora, who is a Minister in Government and a Member of Parliament from the South Mumbai constituency, that we have been able to get the children of Mumbai together from all different economic backgrounds, competing in one activity. And that activity is football.
“It is a very popular event and the entire community knows about QPR because of the coverage this event gets in the media.
“Amit has been the driving force behind this. He has created the association with QPR, and has even taken time out from his busy schedule in the past to come and meet the kids. He has been very supportive.
“The passion and 100 per cent commitment from the QPR coaches is absolutely amazing. It augers well for the future.”