FIFA U17 World Cup: AIFF confirms foreign clubs' interest in India star Dheeraj Singh
“We are aware of the interest shown by the scouts and have spoken to Dheeraj about it. The most important thing is to ensure the interest is genuine and not because of commercial reasons.”
The above quote was picked up from an AIFF Official and you know when an AIFF Official says it, there's definitely no joking around. The hype is real, the interest is real. The Indian U-17 team's Number 1 keeper has made use of the huge opportunity he was given and performed on the grandest stage of his career.
Dheeraj Moriangthem had an amazing tournament. Not only was he the standout player from the India U-17 team but also one of the best keepers in the group stages of the tournament. Spectacular saves, excellent distribution, wonderful acrobatics and powerful throws that reach deep into the opponent's half were some facets of his game that caught the eyes.
The boy from Manipur was at the top of his game and attracted the attention of many scouts during the tournament as a confirmed in this Sportskeeda Exclusive a few days back.
The young goalkeeper was so good that he even received praise from each of the rival managers during the tournament and even local legends like Baichung Bhutia who called him the 'Find of the Tournament'. Besides official confirmation from an AIFF representative, the European interest in Dheeraj was also confirmed by India's Portuguese Goalkeeping Coach, Paolo Grilo who said, “One hundred percent there are people from many teams in Europe and around the world who are looking at him. I can’t tell you who the teams are but one thing is for certain, If he returns to the methodology of training in India, then he won’t improve. Dheeraj has the potential to play in Europe.”
The AIFF will have a say in Dheeraj’s future simply because he is a product of the AIFF Elite Academy. Dheeraj is reportedly also on the verge of signing a two-year deal with the federation to play in the I-League and hence the AIFF will play an instrumental role in Dheeraj's future and decision.
The India U-17 team will now automatically be promoted to the U-19 level and will begin preparations for the U-19 AFC Championship while Dheeraj and the rest of the team will focus on resting before their new challenge.
The young keeper will also have to focus on his future and will reportedly meet with AIFF Officials in the coming week along with his parents and U-17 Head Coach Luis Norton de Matos to map out his plan of action.