NEW DELHI: The All India Football Federation has managed to sign on at least 10 members of the Indian Under-17 team to play for the AIFF developmental side in the I-League.
The sport's parent body offered three-year contracts to all the 21 players of the team to form the team which will play in the I-League from the next season. The Times of India has quoted AIFF general secretary Kushal Das as saying,"At least 10-12 players have signed the deal. If the rest don't want to join the side, they are free to join any club. We have offered them three-year contracts keeping in mind the U-19 AFC Championships in 2018 and U-20 World Cup in 2019."
According to other reports, some of the top players of the U-17 have been approached by I-League clubs like Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Neroca FC. While Neroca have mainly spoken to the footballers from Manipur, including skipper Amarjit Singh, the Kolkata teams are interested in Bengal based players like Jitendra Singh, Rahim Ali and Abhijit Sarkar, reports indicate.
The U-17 team's next assignment will be the U-19 AFC Championship qualifiers, which will start in Saudi Arabia on 4 November. Das told TOI that India will hold a week-long camp prior to the tournament from October 17 under coach Luis Norton de Matos, in which the U-17 boys will join in.