Submitted by alvin on Sat, 2017-03-18 10:55 Bengaluru: Football craze seems to be catching up in Bengaluru. An indication of the fever is the growing number of clubs in the city. Sharan Parikh, CEO of South United FC, says the sport has been attracting underprivileged kids, who are now getting exposed to major tournaments, a trend, Parikh feels, will bring about a change in the sporting culture. South United FC has 24 players out of which 17 are from areas such as Austin Town, Ejipura, Koramangala, Bommasandra. “Bengaluru’s players earlier lacked proper training and guidance,” says Parikh. “Taking up football as a career was a big question mark but now the club has the highest number of players from Bengaluru." According to Parikh, Chennai and Bengaluru are now regularly throwing up talented players. "Bengaluru has potential players who were never exposed nor supported. Now, after club started focusing on South India, we are seeing a number of enthusiasts entering the club,” says Parikh. In Parikh’s view, finding sponsors is still a challenge. “If we develop interest among youth, then football will attract larger crowds in the coming days,” says Parikh. Sharan Parikh And what about the future after retirement? Parikh says post-retirement, professional footballers can take up academics. “As a club, we make every player take up academics along with sports. So after his retirement, a player can take up coaching, sports event management and academics as a full-time profession,” he says. Parikh says the club is in the process of creating employment opportunities for players.