AIFF to enter I-League team comprising India U17, U19 players

NEW DELHI: All India Football Federation’s technical committee has proposed that in order to create the most competitive team with the ultimate objective of qualifying for AFC U-19 Championship in 2018 and the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2019, a team can be selected from the current U17 World Cup squad as well as the current U-19 National Team.

The committee, which in Bengaluru on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Shyam Thapa, focussed on two aspects – ensuring that the development of the U-17 Team continues with consistency, and secondly to ensure that an experienced and competitive team be prepared for the upcoming AFC U 19 Championship qualifiers in November 2017, which is the qualifying tournament for the AFC U 19 Championship to be held in Indonesia in October-November 2018, from where the four semi-finalists would qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2019.

This team should be given the best possible training and competitive environment including participation in the I-League for season 2017-18. The team would also participate in other tournaments across the World and would form the core of the senior national team in future years for qualification in future editions of the Olympics, Asian Cup and World Cup.

Thapa said: “This is the right time for the AIFF to take up this long term vision. I am very satisfied with proposed long term plan which would ensure the team gets prepared in the best possible fashion for future editions of Olympics, Asian Cup and Wold Cup.”

Henry Menezes, vice-chairman of the technical committee stated: “The U-17 World Cup squad is the best among the next generation and clubbing them with the U-19 National Team is the perfect roadmap and the best thing which can happen to Indian Football. The boys would get adequate time to know each other and be fully prepared for future International competitions.”

The committee also discussed the plan to develop and groom Indian coaches and requested the technical director to come up with a detailed plan.

Thapa proposed residential state-wise academies for age-group teams should be started by state governments in collaboration with the AIFF and state associations.

A detailed report will be submitted to AIFF president Praful Patel on the proposals for further consideration and action.