A Media Team Is Like An Academy's Personal Diary : Nihal Colaco
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Nihal Colaco and I am the Content and Media Lead for Reliance Foundation Young Champs. I have a MBA in international marketing from EU Business School, Spain and I've been a professional athlete for various footballing clubs in Bangalore and Barcelona. I've been playing football since the age of 6 and it's been a part of my life, teaching me every step of the way.
How difficult or easy was it for you to transition away from playing and into the studio?
I'd say the transition was easy from an operational standpoint but quite challenging on the emotional front. I've spent 20+ years living and breathing football so it was difficult to "step away" from the field. Towards the tail end of my transition, I was able to find immense joy in promoting the sport and being a part of the media and content team of the club I was playing for. That dual role gave me perspective in terms of my future goals and helped me make the transition.
How has your time at RFYC been so far?
My time at RFYC has been very rewarding. I was fortunate enough to visit the Reliance Corporate Park facility and meet the staff prior to my employment being confirmed and I'd like to say, seeing the lush surroundings and the warm, friendly faces, I was immediately sold on the project. Since then, it's only been a positive journey.
It's been an honour working with such disciplined and talented athletes and experienced staff who always follow a child first approach.
I feel this is the place I see myself adding value to, and hope over the course of my time here that I'm able to fulfill the same.
You recently spent some time in Mizoram as part of the Naupang League. Tell us a little about that.
To sum up in one word, Wholesome.
From the ground to the children, the support staff, the parents, the atmosphere and the culture in general, it's been extremely wholesome. It's not surprising that Mizoram has throughout the years been able to develop rich footballing talent. It's a testament to the culture that the state and its people provide.
The RFYC Naupang League is a dedicated league structure spanning across 32 weeks across 5 age categories (U5, U7,U9,U11,U13s) to develop and nurture the talent Mizoram has to offer. RFYC have tied up with the Mizoram Football Association to run the league across 4 districts which I feel will be instrumental in talent identification and development.
My visit to Aizawl was enriching. In fact my palms went sore with the countless high fives being thrown around. The people were incredibly welcoming and went out of their way to help us. I was taken aback by how hands on they were when it came to the Naupang League. We had many helping hands from parents/children and the support staff while we set up the branding and field for the tournament and we had many friendly faces helping us clear up the field as well. It really is a testament to the kind hearted nature of the people of Mizoram.
Why does an academy need a media team?
A football Academy is most often setup for a primary reason - Talent Development. The passion that our academy owners have is to help nourish and promote sporting talent. While it is important that no stone is left unturned in providing the best for the players, I personally feel it is equally important to stop and appreciate the various milestones achieved. We are so often carried away with improving and growing that we seldom take the time to highlight the milestones achieved along the way. Enter the media team.
A media team is like an academy's personal diary. It strives to capture such moments so we can always look back and see how far we've come. Since every academy has a story to tell - it's the media team's duty to be able to tell that story with all its supporting elements.
A picture perfect moment, a video of the highs and lows, an interview to run through the years. It all compounds to one thing - A beautiful story that's waiting to be told.
You were a professional player in your own right. What are your thoughts on alternate career options/alternate skill development for young football players?
Football is a high risk, impact sport which requires tremendous discipline and dedication to achieve success in. Consequently the success rate for these athletes is not very high. Hence it's very important to always have a Plan B in mind. This shouldn't be looked at as demotivation, but rather as a reminder to be mindful and aware of the opportunities that await them in the off chance that they aren't able to make it.
I always feel that it is very important for players to equip themselves with alternate skills and to look at alternate career opportunities. There is a lot one can provide to the sport by being actively involved in the ecosystem. And this sometimes provides the closest joy that you might feel to being on the field. That way you aren't too disheartened that your career wasn't as fruitful, but actively look to add value to the environment and create that same name for yourself. From an alternate skill development perspective, it is recommended that young players find ways to express themselves. Media training and the confidence to engage with players, coaches and press will only benefit them during their playing careers as well as give them the necessary confidence to be aware of the alternate career opportunities that might await them.