India is set to host the U-17 FIFA World Cup next year and in an effort to field the best team possible, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has organised a scouting programme to find the brightest fresh talents in the country. The first of such trials kicked off in Kalyani, West Bengal on November 19 and 20 where 30 young players came forward to showcase their abilities. However, the response from the two most famous clubs from the state – Mohun Bagan and East Bengal was poor in its lack of enthusiasm.
Players from the U-16 division from eastern and north-eastern India arrived at Kalyani from clubs like Royal Wahingdoh, United Sports Club and Shillong Lajong to try out for a spot on the team. However, East Bengal chose to not send a single U-16 player and Mohun Bagan sent only two who reached a day late whereas, the AIFF had requested all clubs to send three of their best young talents.
Abhishek Yadav, the Director of Scouting at the AIFF after learning of their absence, said:
"We found that some Kolkata-based clubs and one Shillong-based club didn't turn up in Kalyani. We earnestly request them to send their boys to Delhi or Goa, depending on their convenience. There's no hard and fast rule on the geographical location. At the end of the day, we all are looking forward to the best possible combination for the upcoming U-17 World Cup and it's the time when the clubs along with AIFF need to step up to hit the bull's eye."
According to the two Kolkata-based clubs, their U-16 players are currently involved in the U-16 league and therefore unavailable. Their reason came as a surprise since almost all the other clubs who participated in the camp are also a part of the same league and some of them had to travel longer than the couple of hours Kalyani is from Kolkata.
The scouts picked two players among all those who tried out before moving on to Delhi where the camp started today and ends tomorrow. Yadav said:
"Our next stop is Delhi and we're looking forward to spending two days with a skilful bunch of boys. Our scouting program for the U-17 World Cup is still on and more boys come for the camp, better for us.”
"From a player's vantage point, sometimes it happens with a player when he can't show his skills during a match. That's why AIFF took up this initiative and on behalf of AIFF, I urge all the clubs to send their best talents in the camp, it's just another opportunity for them to prove their worth."
However, players from the Kolkata-based clubs are yet to show up in Delhi although there is still one more camp in Goa before the AIFF end their search.Published 22 Nov 2016, 19:38 IST