FIFA U17 World Cup: With eyes on Manchester, India U17 star reportedly set to pen deal with AIFF
What's the story?
India U17 star Jitendra Singh is all set to extend his contract with AIFF (All India Football Federation) after several offers from Indian Super League and I-League sides. According to Bengali publication Ebela Online, the famous Manchester International Football Academy has also called him up for trials, but he could not make it citing age issues.
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Jitendra had collected contract papers earlier today from East Bengal club while sorting out his passport issues. East Bengal have taken the responsibility to solve his passport issues as Jitendra is an East Bengal fan.
The versatile defender had offers from Indian Super League sides such as Delhi Dynamos as well, but he was inclined towards the Red and Golds.
Jitendra is one of the many players who has not yet signed for AIFF for their I-League side which would be the rechristened version of the now defunct Pailan Arrows.
The heart of the matter
Jitendra was supposed to leave for Delhi today but due to passport issues, his flight had to be cancelled and East Bengal stepped up to his rescue to solve his problem. Delhi Dynamos and East Bengal offered sizea sums of money, but the big numbers did not lure him because his family thought that as the AIFF has taken care of them for the last two years, he should stick with the Federation for few more years.
The twist: The AIFF has approached its players for a three-year contract, but keeping in mind the huge chance of playing in the Manchester International Football Academy, Jitendra would pen a two-year deal with the federation so that he would have various options to pursue in Europe after he turns 18.
Jitendra would fly to New Delhi for the National team camp. India fly to Qatar for a friendly before playing the AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers. Jitendra, who is all but staying put, is eyeing a good performance in the I-League as of now.
It comes up as a surprise and a major twist as Jitendra has not been lured by money but is well aware of how to set up a better and secured future. It remains to be seen if AIFF would accept his request of signing a two-year contract.