A similar experiment was done between the 2010-2013 period which produced players like Jeje Lalpekhlua, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Holicharan Nazary etc.
All eyes will be on Indian Arrows – the developmental squad fielded by the All India Football Federation in the Hero I-League 2017-18 as they take on Chennai City FC in the opening round of campaign at the GMC Bambolim Stadium in Goa on Wednesday (November 29, 2017).
Continuing the legacy of the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 India and building on the recently concluded AFC U-19 Championship qualifiers, the Indian Arrows – consisting of a mixture of Indian U-17s and Indian U-19s – are gearing up to give clubs in the Hero I-League a tough fight.
But does that faze the confidence of the young Arrows? “We are confident of ourselves and we believe that we can make it tough for Hero I-league teams to play against us”, said Sanjeev Stalin.
“We might not be able to win each and every match but even if we hold a Hero I-league club to a draw, it will be a big morale booster for us.I want to thank the All India Football Federation for giving us a chance to play in the Hero I-League, it means a lot to us”, Stalin opined.
Edmund Lalrindika who scored in the 3-0 win over Turkmenistan in the AFC U-19 Championship qualifiers in Dammam, Saudi Arabia stated, “Every footballer wants to play in the domestic league as a professional player and playing in the Hero I-League will help us in becoming mature footballers as well as human beings”
“We are focused on the upcoming matches and we will strive to give our hundred percent in the league fixtures. In the process, we are bound to grow into better footballers”, he added.
Meanwhile, Jeakson Singh, India’s first goalscorer in a FIFA Tournament sounded excited of playing in the league but cautious of the other clubs. “Playing against some of the best Club teams in India will certainly be hard for us, but it will be a good learning experience which will help us evolve into better versions of ourselves”
“We are excited to play in the Hero I-League but we will have to be at the top of our game and will have to give more than our hundred percent to give teams a tough fight”
“It will be very tough, but it will be worth it”, Jeakson said
Khel Now Predicted XI of Indian Arrows
“We are very excited with this possibility to play in the I-League. We know we are looking for such possibilities,” the Indian Arrows coach Luis Norton de Matos said in the pre-match press conference held today (November 28, 2017).
“These players are going to get more match experience. This is a starting point. The difficulty we see in the I-League will be similar to what we saw in the World Cup,” Matos said.
The idea behind fielding the young footballers in the I-League is to give them game time and Matos feels that this is good for the future.
Their opponents Chennai City FC are only into their second season in the I-League they would look better their 8th place finish from last season.
The Southern side are giving a platform for young footballers from Tamil Nadu to showcase their talent.
“We are concentrating more on Tamil Nadu players. That is why we have taken players from rural areas. We signed more players from the Chennai league. This year we had a very good pre-season and I have confidence in my players,” Chennai City coach V Soundararajan said.
Khel Now Predicted XI of Chennai City FC
Meanwhile, their captain Michael Soosairaj was cautiously optimistic.
“Actually we don’t underestimate anyone and everybody knows how they performed in the WC. We hope to be the better team,” the skipper said.