Sri Lankan teenager Jehan Joseph Crishantha Atapattu earned the right to spend a week at the world-famous Aspire Academy in Qatar after winning a much-coveted Good Sportsmanship Award during the recent Allianz Junior Football Camp (AJFC) Asia 2017.
The talented teenager received the award after embodying the principles of good sportsmanship both on and off the field during the recent AJFC Asia 2017 camp which took place in Bali, Indonesia. Jehan was one of 49 teenagers from eight different countries (China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Thailand) who took part in the camp.
The Good Sportsmanship Award is the result of a partnership between Aspire Academy and Allianz to provide one participant from the camp with the chance to experience one of the most highly regarded football training programmes in the world.
Jehan was selected by a panel consisting of FC Bayern Munich footballers Giovane Elber and Klaus Augenthaler along with a representative from Allianz.
Eike Buergel, Head of Brand Management for Asia, Allianz, also commented on Jehan’s sportsmanship saying: “Jehan exhibited truly excellent sportsmanship during the Allianz Junior Football Camp 2017 in Asia and this once in a lifetime opportunity to train with Aspire Academy exemplifies Allianz’s commitment to nurturing the next generation of Asia’s footballing talent and bringing them one step closer to fulfilling their dreams.”
Commendably, this was the first time this scholarship has been awarded to an AJFC participant and Jehan experienced the 'world-class' Aspire Academy from 5th November to 8th November as a result.
Jehan was exposed to a host of training techniques which are reserved for the elite footballers during his four-day stay at the Aspire Academy. The teenager was put through extensive fitness regimes and training patterns at Aspire's state-of-the-art gym and training facilities
But significantly, Jehan got to experience the ‘Footbonaut’!
The Footbonaut is a football training machine which fires balls at different speeds and trajectories at players, who must control and pass the ball into a highlighted square. Interestingly, only the biggest football clubs in the world have access to the machine, making it a unique training experience for Jehan.
Apart from the rigorous training drills and fitness sessions, the academy also focused on helping Jehan build his mental strength and imparted to him a holistic education which was not solely focused on skill.
The Sri Lankan lad was given awareness of the ideal nutritional needs required to make it a professional footballer, which should stand him in good stead in the coming years.
It certainly was an experience to cherish for the youngster from Sri Lanka, for not many get a chance to hone their skills using world-class facilities at such a young age or be guided by the cream of professional coaches in the world.
He certainly made most of it, impressing the coaches at Aspire Academy with his staunch dedication to learning from the opportunity at the academy and passion for the game.
“It was a pleasure to have Jehan with us for a week and you could easily see how passionate he is about football. With the determination he showed during his time at Aspire Academy, combined with his skills on the pitch, I am sure that he has the potential to develop into a good footballer who will able to play on the highest level in his home country Sri Lanka and maybe he will one day be able to join a club abroad,” said Edorta Murua, Technical Director of Aspire Academy’s Football Department.
Who knows, we might hear the name Jehan Atapattu again in the future!