Baggies defender prepares to 'Pass It Forward' in New Delhi
Jonas Olsson is jetting off with Air India next week to see for himself Albion’s pioneering football and community work in the New Delhi region.
The Baggies defender and Sweden international is at the centre of a five-day promotional visit to India to witness first-hand the Club’s ‘Pass it Forward’ project launched with partners University of Wolverhampton, The Albion Foundation, Delhi Dynamos, The Delhi State Government and Youth Football International (YFI).
The trip has been arranged at Olsson’s request and satisfies a long-time yearning to see for himself his Club’s endeavours in India.
Until now, Olsson’s footballing commitments have prevented his visit but he has this summer seized the chance to take in Albion and the University’s work.
Olsson will be in New Delhi at one of the hottest times of the year when temperatures soar above 40 degrees but it has not his dented his enthusiasm to take in the sights and sounds of a different world.
He says: “I have been very interested in what the Club have been doing in India over the last couple of years and I think it’s fantastic.
“I have spoken to Club staff who have spent time in Mumbai and Delhi and it sounds like working with the ‘Pass it Forward’ project will be a humbling and memorable experience.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to see a new country but it’s important that I see the real India.
“I want to get out on the streets and in the slums and spend time with children who have a real passion for football.”
Albion’s ‘Pass it Forward’ programme is designed to grow the Club’s links with India and its booming football culture by taking Premier League expertise to the area’s millions of young football fans.
The Baggies are working closely with Indian Super League team Delhi Dynamos and have recently been given state government clearance to extend their coaching programme to more than 1,000 schools.
Lord Paul, Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton and one of the most successful UK-based Indian businessmen, is the latest prominent figure to throw his support behind the ‘Pass It Forward’ project.
Olsson’s itinerary will see him accompany dignitaries on a visit to a deprived school in a slum area, oversee Delhi Youth League’s annual awards, meet with Dynamos officials and watch Under 15 coaching sessions.
Paul Schuttenbelt, director of YFI, says: “Jonas’s visit is another high-profile link between the Premier League and Indian football so and is causing great excitement.
“It’s particularly heartening that we have an international player of his status who genuinely wants to come out and see for himself what it is all about. I think it will be an amazing experience for him.”
This week saw 21 of the Indian Super League’s top young prospects, called the Young Champs, complete a successful two-day visit of Albion’s Academy and Foundation centres in a trip organised with the Premier League.