U-17 Manipur footballer Bidyananda Singh impresses Barcelona scouts
Bidyananda Singh is the latest prodigy to have made a mark on Indian football, as the global sport gains increasingly popularity in this cricket centric country. The shy defensive midfielder caught the eye of Barcelona scouts at a football training camp at Doha’s Aspire Academy.
The U-17 player was pitted against aspirants from World Cup runners up Netherlands and Australia, all vying to impress youth academy coaches from Barcelona, Manchester United and Inter Milan, who conducted the academy.
At the end of the training camp, the Barcelona scouts expressed interest in Singh, and have been following the potential star’s progress closely.
In yet another distinction, Singh became only the second Indian, after Milan Basumatary, to have played in the academy’s All Star team.
Nicknamed ‘Honda’, owing to his shock of blonde hair much like AC Milan’s Japanese star Keisuke Honda, the playmaker was named the player of the camp by the Barcelona coaches.
Rise to prominence :
Singh joined the Sports Authority of India (SAI) at the tender age of 11, and was soon recognised for his talents on the football pitch. Growing up in relative poverty meant, his decision to leave for SAI at such an early age was not inspired primarily for the love of the sport.
He recalls, “Moving to the SAI complex meant that my parents didn’t have to worry about my meals, nor did they have to worry about my equipment as the academy provided me with the boots and kit,”
Singh was soon called up to the U-13 team by the All India Football Federation (AIFF), and impressed immensely with steady performances.
The midfielder is currently honing his skills at the AIFF Academy in Navi Mumbai, hoping for a big call-up.