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Indian U-17 Football Team

AFC U-17 Asian Cup 2023: Five Indian players to watch out for in future

Published at :June 27, 2023 at 12:44 AM
Modified at :July 11, 2023 at 1:01 AM
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The AFC U-17 Asian Cup served as a brilliant window into what to expect from the upcoming young talents from the country.

Indian football is producing sensational young players due to a shift in the approach to the development of players in younger age groups. India's U-17 team recently participated in the 2023 AFC U-17 Asian Cup and gave a good account of themsleves. Coach Bibiano Fernandes worked extremely hard with the young players who bowed out of the competition after giving a good fight in Group D against the likes of Vietnam, Uzbekistan and mighty Japan.

The tournament served as a window into what to expect from the upcoming generation of young players. More and more young stars are making their way into the teams of the I-League and the Indian Super League. It is a matter of time before some of the players that were part of the India U-17 squad at the 2023 AFC U-17 Asian Cup become important figures in top clubs across India.

Looking back at the tournament and the impressive performance by the Blue Colts, here are the top five young Indian players to watch out for in future: 

Korou Singh Thingujam

Korou Singh Thingujam AFC U-17 Asian Cup 2023 India Japan Uzbekistan Vietnam
Korou Singh against Uzbekistan. (Courtesy: AFC)

Korou Singh Thingujam was the captain of the India U-17 team at the 2023 U-17 AFC Asian Cup in Thailand. He scored the last goal for the Blue Colts in the tournament before bowing out of it by losing to Japan.

The midfielder plays for Sudeva Delhi at the club level and is a promising talent. For someone who is already showcasing leadership qualities, Korou Singh Thingujam has big things in store for him. There is huge potential in the player who can make the step up into the top division of Indian football in the next couple of years.

Malemngamba Singh

AFC U-17 Asian Cup 2023 India Japan Uzbekistan Vietnam Malemngamba Singh
Malemngamba Singh against Vietnam. (Courtesy: AFC)

Malemngamba Singh was the goal-scorer for India U-17s in their 1-1 draw against Vietnam at the 2023 AFC U-17 Asian Cup. The full-back showed a lot of promise and gave a good account of himself in the three fixtures for the Blue Colts in Thailand.

His pace and work ethic are characteristics that make him stand out from the rest of the crowd. He scored with a brilliant long-range deflected strike that went straight into the top right corner which shows self-confidence and a belief in one’s abilities - key attributes in a young player destined for greatness.

Danny Meitei Laishram

AFC U-17 Asian Cup 2023 India Japan Uzbekistan Vietnam Danny Meitei Laishram
Danny Meitei. (Courtesy: AFC)

Danny Meitei Laishram is an exciting midfielder who was one of the best performers for the Blue Colts at the 2023 AFC U-17 Asian Cup. The attacker scored one of the four goals for India against Japan and gave the country a sliver of hope of making a comeback. He also caused one of Japan’s players to inadvertently direct the ball into his own net with his cross from the right side of the box.

One of the areas where Danny shines is his hunger to attack and create scoring chances. His wing play is impressive and the youngster can cause mayhem to opposition defences by combining with other attackers.

Sahil Poonia

AFC U-17 Asian Cup 2023 India Japan Uzbekistan Vietnam Sahil Poonia
Sahil Poonia. (Courtesy: AFC)

Sahil Poonia was the figure between the sticks for India at the 2023 AFC U-17 Asian Cup. He was a tough nut to crack for Vietnam and Uzbekistan. It took special strikes to breach the goalkeeper as he conceded only once in the first two games. His performance overall was impressive if a couple of errors in the game against Japan can be ignored.

The custodian saved a penalty against Japan which was a personal highlight. He was a major reason why it was difficult for both Vietnam and Uzbekistan to score against the Blue Colts. Sahil Poonia’s reactions and reach while stopping shots were noteworthy, and it is a matter of time before he becomes a part of an I-League or an ISL club. 

Thanglalsoun Gangte

AFC U-17 Asian Cup 2023 India Japan Uzbekistan Vietnam Thanglalsoun Gangte
Thanglalsoun Gangte. (Courtesy: AFC)

Thanglalsoun Gangte led the Indian forward line well at the 2023 AFC U-17 Asian Cup in Thailand. The striker showed brilliant movement behind the defensive line and offered to make runs to create space for the midfielders and wingers down the channels. 

Gangte has a brilliant work ethic and a hunger for goals. He has nine goals for the U-17 national team in 17 fixtures, including four at the 2022 SAFF U-17 Championship. The Manipur-born striker plays for Sudeva Delhi but will soon garner interest from other top clubs in the country.

Vanlalpeka Guite (Special mention)

Although it's a "Top 5" list, it needs Vanlalpeka Guite in it. The midfielder performed pretty well against the likes of Vietnam and Japan. In the final Group D clash, he was one of their top performers too!




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