The football fans in India will soon get to see The All India Football Federation field a team in the nation’s premier football tournament, the I-League, is in its second chapter in the form of the Indian Arrows – a squad comprising players from India’s U-17 and U-19 squads.
The I-League kicks off on November 25th, and the Indian Arrows will begin their campaign four days later against the relatively new team Chennai City FC in Goa. The colts who, will be coached by the Portuguese Luis Norton de Matos play their first two home games in Goa, taking on Minerva FC in their second bout of the league. U-17 coach De Matos is looking forward to the opportunity of playing in the I-League and is looking forward to get his team on the pitch facing the big boys of Indian Football.
“We have skipped a few steps in the process of developing the players, but we need challenges and the boys need to play against the senior teams if they want to grow. If you remember, at the World Cup there were many players who were already playing in the top division domestically. It is easier to play at the same age group. The experience from this tournament will eventually help the players when they play qualifiers for the AFC and FIFA tournaments.” De Matos suggested while speaking at the launch of the 11th edition of the I-League in the national capital. While the boys are reveling in all the focus being on them, others in the footballing community like Alfred Fernandes, Churchills’ coach believe it is a gradual process and said it will take time for the Colts to be competing on level terms with other teams in the league.
Indian Football is on the right path with this initiative as the progress rate of the Indian Arrows, if handled well, could well lay the foundations for a stronger senior team in the years to come. Do you think it is the right move by the AIFF?