Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney stare out of a poster as you enter the Hotfut futsal arena in Mundhwa. While these three Manchester United legends aren’t likely to be seen in action in Pune anytime soon, the club is about to set foot in the city for the first time. Later this month, coaches from Manchester United Soccer Schools (MUSS) will descend upon Hotfut’s three futsal pitches for a three-day player development course.
The arrival of a name as iconic as Manchester United represents a major coup for Hotfut, which has been in existence for less than six months.
“We approached them (MUSS), and asked them, why not come to Pune?” says Pavit Singh, co-owner, Hotfut. “The city has a huge, growing football culture, and so they’re definitely going to get the market they’re looking for, and Hotfut meets all their quality requirements for them to conduct their programme.”
MUSS’s most essential requirement was a quality playing surface. Hotfut has city’s only synthetic turf pitches, which provide a surface consistent with the artificial turf at Cooperage ground where MUSS conduct their Mumbai operations.
“Artificial turf gives us even bounce and a surface that will allow smooth, slick passing,” says Mukul Choudhary, director, MUSS. “That’s what we need for our course. And we aren’t really looking for a full-size ground. Even in Mumbai, we divide Cooperage into four small pitches, and each is occupied by a small batch of not more than 12 kids. That’s how the players at the Manchester United Academy train in the UK, and our objective is to give the same standardised experience.”