FC Bayern Munich sets the ball rolling for 15 Indian talents
They were all wearing Shillong Lajong FC jerseys, had a confident walk and a searching look on their faces, enough to prompt me to approach them. “Hi, are you guys the Lajong youth team?” “Yes”, one of the boys replied, pleasantly surprised. “Where do you guys train?”, I asked conversationally, and stupidly, as I was to know in some moments. “Uhh Shillong” said their manager, as the rest of the team and another accompanying club official rounded around by then.
Maybe he didn’t get me, “No you’re based in Shillong, but in Delhi, where do you train?”
“We are from Shillong” came the obvious reply, again.
“Oh so this is the official youth team that has come all the way from Shillong?!” I hurried through, realizing what had been apparent all the time. They just nodded and smiled.
And their long trip to the capital was far more than just justified, because it hardly gets better than this. Bayern Munich’s second day in the capital saw many enthusiastic boys from all over the country turn up to show the scouts what they’ve got. What happens if they get selected? They get to represent India at the Bayern Youth Cup next year at the Allianz Arena. This is the first time that Bayern has brought the Youth Cup model to India, which has helped to pick out many talents from other countries.
Even though I wasn’t one of the aspirants at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, I got butterflies in my stomach seeing the Bayern Logos dotting the way to Gate no. 2, under a burning Sunday sun. The imposing structure of the JLN for a backdrop, and the eyes of some of the most seasoned scouts watching may make the nerves of even the most confident boys jangle. However, some really came into their own and stood out, even the demoralizing heat seemed to be non existent for them.
At the end of the day, 15 boys were picked. The next scouting programme is said to happen in December 2011 in Mumbai, and the boys selected from the capital will then play against the ones selected in Mumbai.
- GOALKEEPERS – Pranav Kotra, Sayak Barai
- LFB – Founder Passah (Shillong Lajong FC Youths) , Jatin Arora
- RCB – Marbiangki (Shillong Lajong FC Youths) , Albert Rai
- LCB – Sumandeb
- LW – Arpan Pradhan, Anirban Barua
- LCM – Pirei Shokwungnao (Shillong Lajong FC Youths) , Imliakum Longkumer (Shillong Lajong FC Youths)
- RCM – Malsawmkima (Shillong Lajong FC Youths)
- F – Jesterwell Shangliang (Shillong Lajong FC Youths) , Maitshaphrang Nengnong (Shillong Lajong FC Youths) , Lalmalswama