FIFA U17 World Cup: Dheeraj Moirangthem, Komal Thatal attract Galatasaray interest ahead of India vs Ghana game
The Indian national U-17 football team's final group stage fixture against Ghana proves to be a do-or-die encounter with the home side requiring a minimum two-goal victory over the former World Champions to secure qualification for the knockout stages. Ahead of the monumental match at the JLN Stadium, scouts from Turkish giants Galatasaray will be attending the match to track the progress of national team custodian Dheeraj Moirangthem and winger Komal Thatal, eyeing a potential spot for inclusion within their Youth Academy setup.
"During a chat with the Galatasaray Scout, whose name I, unfortunately, cannot reveal, he stated that both Dheeraj and Komal would be perfect fits to initiate their brands in India. This will be a part of their global expansion plan, which involves other countries such as Malaysia and Thailand as well," a source close to the proceedings said to Sportskeeda.
"He was there for the last match and was quite impressed with Dheeraj and even said, 'If he stays fit, he can play for a senior team in two years time.' He was obviously disappointed that Komal didn't play, but he was given access to India's training match three days ago. He is here again today, so they might end up meeting each other after the match."
According to our source, the scout is attempting to contact Dheeraj and Komal via the All India Football Federation (AIFF), who are currently analysing the logistics of an approach from multiple clubs.
Our source added, "The AIFF has been informed about the interest from the Galatasaray scout and I'm not very sure, but there are interests from other clubs as well. The picture will be clearer after India are done with their final match if indeed this is their final match."
Only two other Ligue 1 clubs - PSG and Lille will be attending the India-Ghana match, which might just be a final chance for the scouts to watch the Indian team in competitive action. There is no confirmation about the interest of PSG or Lille in Indian players.
Our source added, "African teams are a big hit amongst the scouts, as you know, Guinea matches get 10-15 scouts, so there is a strong possibility that they have come to track them. I have had no conversations with them, hence I am not aware. If they are here for them, good for Indian football."
Earlier last week, Dheeraj received attention from Bundesliga clubs Borussia Moenchengladbach and SC Freiburg, these might just have been the clubs that expressed their interest to the AIFF.