Chennaiyin FC grooms young talent with junior teams

CHENNAI: Indian Super League franchise Chennaiyin FC has launched teams in three age groups – Under-13, 15 and 18 – and plans to compete in the three national youth leagues conducted by the All India Football Federation from this year.

The teams will also be groomed to take part in various other tournaments in those three age groups, according to a Chennaiyin FC statement.

The Chennaiyin FC U-13 and U-15 teams will only comprise boys from Tamil Nadu in the initial phase. The majority of the U-18 team will also be from Tamil Nadu but there will be a few players from other regions as well, the statement says.

“It is a very exciting moment for the club as we launch our three age group teams and fittingly it is happening on the club’s third anniversary. This is another step forward in matching the best practices of the sport of creating a pyramid beneath the senior team to not only create a continuous supply of talent from within the club but also give some of the best talent of Tamil Nadu and other parts of the country a platform to launch their football careers,” Chennaiyin FC co-owners Vita Dani, Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan and Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni said in a joint statement.

Sabir Pasha, technical director of Chennaiyin FC’s youth development said, “Since its inception the club has done a great job in grassroots by reaching out to thousands of budding footballers in Tamil Nadu.”

“However the time had come to go to the next level by starting fully functional teams in three age groups which will not only start the process of having a proper structure for the talent to flourish within the club but also give everybody involved with grassroots further incentive as boys would get to play competitive matches from a very young age.”