India is very much being represented at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Perhaps not on the rectangular plot of land that we all call home, but in certain activities surrounding it.
Meet Vinay Menon, the Wellness Coach of the Belgian National Team, who will be looking into various aspects like the physical and mental wellbeing of the team’s players during the FIFA World Cup.“I feel proud to have gotten this opportunity to with the Belgian National Team in the FIFA World Cup,” said Menon.
“It makes me really happy that I can represent India and make my country proud in my own way.”
As a wellness coach of the team, Vinay is responsible for mental strategy and actively recovering of the body and the mind which help players perform at the optimal level.
The 48-year-old has previously also worked with Chelsea Football Club, one of the top clubs in England and in Europe; he has also played an important role in fine-tuning the Chelsea squads that won the UEFA Champions League in 2011-12 and 2020-21 seasons.
Now with the Belgium National Team, Vinay is looking for support from all quarters for his side to do well in the World Cup.“India might not have a team yet in the World Cup, but I hope that all Indians who are travelling to Qatar for the matches will come and support Belgium,” he said.
Vinay started his journey in the Cherai village near Ernakulam, Kerala, before completing his MPhil in Physical Education from the Pondicherry University. He further went on to study Yoga Science at the Kaivalydhan Institute in Pune, before moving to Dubai as an instructor in a five star resort. Soon, the young Wellness instructor had his first brush with the beautiful game, when he joined as the personal coach of the then Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovic, before joining the club altogether.
Still a part of Chelsea Football Club, Vinay is also working with the Belgian team at the moment. However, he hopes to one day work in a similar capacity with the Blue Tigers in the FIFA World Cup.
“If Belgium, with a population of 11 million, can make it to the FIFA World Cup, there’s no reason why India with a population of 1.3 billion, can’t,” he said. “I believe that India can play the FIFA World Cup by 2030, and if and when that happens, I would very much like to lend my expertise to the National Team.”
Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran, AIFF Secretary General said, “For India, it’s a very proud moment; an Indian getting into the Belgium national team, as a Wellness Coach. And this is a not a small responsibility Vinay has undertaken. Being the wellness coach means, he’s a mental strategist of the team. And therefore, he controls the mind of the players that helps to measure the performance and puts the goals in front of the players. And that way, it’s a big responsibility and that shows the capacity of the Indians as a human capital. This would encourage and motivate more Indians to take up bigger roles in all walks of life.
“We also wish the Belgium national team and Vinay all the luck in the forthcoming FIFA World Cup.”