India's FIFA U17 World Cup star Anwar Ali contemplating rejecting AIFF offer
What's the story?
After reports emerged that the AIFF's offer of three-year contracts to a majority of players in the Indian U17 squad that played at the FIFA U17 World Cup 2017 was rejected by three players, another member of the Colts has now rejected the governing body's advances.
Anwar Ali is the latest to seek pastures new after it emerged that the towering centre-back hasn't yet put pen to paper. While it is yet unknown what are the offers on his table, Anwar is not yet committing his future to the AIFF's project.
In case you didn't know...
Anwar was among the few Indian players who played every minute of the Colts' FIFA U17 World Cup campaign. Although India shipped nine goals in their three group stage matches, Anwar stood out alongside goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem and was the only fixed member of his team's two-man central defensive pairing.
The heart of the matter
Anwar has been selected in the 23-man India U19 squad set to play in the AFC U19 Championship qualifiers in November. The AIFF is planning to float a new I-League team comprising effectively the same players who have headed to Qatar today ahead of their Saudi Arabian jaunt for the AFC U19 Championship qualifier, hence it will look to tie down as many players as possible ahead of the I-League 2017-18 kick-off, tentatively scheduled for mid-November.
While the likes of Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, Komal Thatal (who has been dropped from the U19 squad) and Amarjit Singh's future is up in the air, Anwar has also joined the small group, if reports from sources in the know are to be believed.
Anwar, a Minerva Punjab Academy product, will have no shortage of options as he proved his worth at the FIFA U17 World Cup, even playing through pain.
India take on Yemen, Turkmenistan and Saudi Arabia in their AFC U19 Championship qualifiers starting 4th November and Anwar will likely be the man leading the Colts from the back. However, his contract impasse could be something that needs sorted ahead of what is a busy period for the Colts, who also have their I-League campaign starting a week after the AFC qualifiers are over.