ISL 2019-20 : Kerala Blasters rope in youngster Zayed bin Waleed
What's the story?
Waleed will join the Blasters from the Dubai-based du LaLiga High Performance Centre U-18 team. The du LaLiga High Performance Centre is a global initiative by Spain’s LaLiga enabling the youth across the UAE to train yearlong to become future national, regional and international pro-footballers.
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Zayed has played for academies based in the United Arab Emirates like the Manchester United Soccer School and Manchester City School of Football.
Zayed was previously called up to try out for the Indian team for the FIFA U-17 World Cup but was found to be illegible as he was 120 days younger than the minimum age limit set by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
After being scouted by the Du LaLiga High Performance Centre in the Under-16 category, Zayed went twice to Spain and got the experience of playing against the youth teams of Cadiz, Sevilla, Almeria, Granada, Real Betis and Malaga.
He also trained with Abu Dhabi-based clubs Al Jazira FC and Al Nasr before his induction into the Du LaLiga High Performance Centre.
The heart of the matter
It was in theAl Ethihad Sports Academy that Zayed happened to play with Kerala Blasters star Sahal Abdul Samad, who was named the Emerging Player of the ISL 2018-19 season. Since, then the youngster has had a growing impulse to go back to his country of origin and play for one of the domestic clubs. As, Sportskeeda earlier reported regarding a possible Kerala Blasters or Jamshedpur move, the midfielder chose the former.
“I have always watched Kerala Blasters play on television and I’m eager to score my first goal at the Home-ground”, said an excited Zayed, who was previously with the Du Laliga HPC U18 Team, UAE.
“Zayed is one of the many young Kerala players who has a bright future. We hope we are able to give him the right platform and coaching to help him realize his true potential” expressed Ishfaq Ahmed, Assistant Coach, Kerala Blasters.
It is certainly a great decision taken by the Kerala Blasters management who have received a tonne of flak from the fans for not going for local names.
A Calicut-born boy with such credibility will certainly bring joy to the Yellow faithful. Adding on to the contentment among the fans, it can also be described as the correct intent of the Southerners to invest in Youth Football and nourish new talents.
If given a proper platform, the roping in of Zayed bin Waleed can do wonders for the Kochi-based franchise.
The Transfer-window opens in June and alike all the other clubs in the world, the Indian Clubs will look to make best of the transfer window, including Kerala Blasters and get some quality names on the board.