The Supremo also spoke about India’s successful AFC U-17 Asian Cup Qualifiers campaign.

All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Kalyan Chaubey has been hard at work since assuming his position. One of his major objectives for the future is to significantly improve the grassroot structure in India.

He wants to ensure that the developmental level for footballers is at the highest quality. This can then help to produce more able, quality players that can help Indian football take promising steps forward in the near future.

Chaubey on India U-17 team’s success

Recently, the India U-17 team secured qualification for the 2023 AFC U-17 Asian Cup. Speaking about the young Colts’ success, Kalyan Chaubey told, “Well, we don’t go to a tournament only to play…winning the tournament remains our aim. When the U-17 team does well and qualifies, it also indicates the future turn of events and the prospect of the footballers.

“We have plans to pick up the boys from this U-17 team along with other talented boys from the same age group, who didn’t get selected for some reason or the other. We want to make a bigger pool and sit down with the coaches and support staff of the U-17 team to chalk out an elaborate strategy so that these boys become the backbone of the national team in U-23 and beyond,” added the President.

He further said, “I have met both the U-17 men’s and women’s team separately at different times. I must say that I have noticed a kind of confidence among the footballers in both the teams.

He added, “I met the U-17 boys’ team in Saudi Arabia when they were in the middle of the qualifiers. I spoke to coach Bibiano (Fernandes) and his support staff and was extremely happy to find that they had the required self-assurance to make the team qualify. It will definitely give everyone the extra confidence on Indian coaches. I am happy that I met the boys and they qualified. I am equally pleased that this qualification has come under an Indian coach.”

Plans on youth tournaments

Kalyan Chaubey also revealed the youth tournaments being planned. He mentioned, “So, our aim would be to ensure how the state associations could be benefitted with the infrastructural support from the central government as well as the state governments. There could be logistic support like accommodations in the hostels the government has and so many other things.

“We also have plans to introduce more tournaments. If we can restart the U-21 national championship, it will benefit the India U-23 team. A uniform youth league will be introduced to get the best out of it. The former footballers in every state, maybe those who have played for more than a decade, would be roped in. Their expertise can be used as scouts in youth tournaments.”

The reality is that the grassroots structure and youth football development need to be upgraded to have world-class facilities for India to be among the top 10 Asian teams in the next decade or so. For that to happen, the young players need encouragement and the best training output to do the country’s name proud going forward.

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