The Indian Super League (ISL) was started with the premise of promoting India's youth to take up football as a career, increasing the talent pool for the Indian national team. As part of the drive to achieve qualification for the 2034 FIFA World Cup, which is the current target for the Indian national team, several youngsters have been given a chance to perform at the highest level.
The ISL also requires every club to have a few players in their first team under the 'Developmental Players' program. This quota has witnessed several ISL teams start residential academies of their own, with a few being quite successful.
In recent years, several academy graduates have gone on to play in the ISL, such as Aman Chetri (Chennaiyin FC), Pritam Kumar Singh (Kerala Blasters), and Suresh Singh Wangjam (Bengaluru FC). Let's take a look at five academy players who have been promoted to the first team for the 2020/21 season of the ISL.
1) BY Revanth (Chennaiyin FC)
BY Revanth is quite highly rated among young goalkeepers in the country. The 21-year-old will be a backup to first-choice goalkeepers Vishal Kaith and Karanjit Singh at Chennaiyin FC in the 2020-21 ISL season.
Revanth has previously trained with the first-team squad during the 2019 AFC Cup campaign, where he was called up due to a few injuries within the Chennaiyin FC squad. His consistent performances at lower levels saw him get promoted to the first team.
Although it is unlikely that he will start a game for Csaba Laszlo's men this season in the ISL, this is a fantastic opportunity for Revanth to train alongside some of the best footballers in the country.
2) Amay Morajkar (Bengaluru FC)
Since Bengaluru FC's inception as a club, the management has always been particular about giving youth a chance in the first-team. Among the first to arrive from the stomping grounds of the TATA Elite Academy was Udanta Singh, who is currently a key first-team player for the Blues.
Amay Morajkar is among several Bengaluru FC youth team graduates who have gone on to make a name for themselves in the junior divisions of Indian football. The 20-year-old was a part of the Bengaluru FC squad for the 2020 edition of the AFC Cup.
He also became one of the youngest players to make his debut for Bengaluru FC, when he came on in the 62nd minute for fellow youth academy graduate Suresh Singh Wangjam against the Bhutanese side Paro FC.
3) Princeton Rebello (FC Goa)
A native of the state of Goa, it is most certainly a dream come true for young Princeton Rebello to be playing for FC Goa in the ISL. Having been a part of the Queens Park Rangers academy in 2014, Rebello eventually found his way back to India at the AIFF Elite Academy.
It was under Sergio Lobera that FC Goa that the 21-year-old made his FC Goa debut, when he came on in the final minutes of the game against Chennaiyin FC last season. So far, Rebello has made a handful of appearances for The Gaurs, and with both Ravi Puskur and Juan Ferrando opting to give youth a chance in the upcoming season, it is highly likely that the youngster will get more opportunities in the starting XI.Published 13 Nov 2020, 20:52 IST