Indian football’s governing body, the All India Football Federation (AIFF), in collaboration with the Sports Authority of India (SAI), has launched the Overseas Scouting Project targeting boys born in either 2000 or 2001 who currently hold solely Indian passports.
The idea is the brainchild of former India international Abhishek Yadav, who scored 17 goals in 62 appearances for India between 2002-11, now an AIFF director.
Trials will be held at Dubai’s Indian High School on Friday and Saturday for teenagers residing in the UAE and nearby countries.
Yadav, 35, who still plays for Mumbai FC in the Hero I-League in India, will help conduct the trials along with his scouting team and Indian U-17 coach Nicolai Adam, with a view to selecting some of them in the World Cup squad, with the tournament to be hosted by India in September and October.
Hailing the concept, AIFF president Praful Patel said it is “essential” that everyone gets a fair chance.
“The U-17 World Cup is a significant event in the Indian football calendar and to ensure that we field our best team, the AIFF has ventured out to Non-Resident Indians holding Indian passports to give kids a chance to represent India,” said Patel.
AIFF general secretary Kushal Das thanked the SAI, the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports and the Ministry of External Affairs for backing this project.
“This project wouldn’t have been possible without the wholehearted support of the Sports Ministry and SAI,” he said.
“I need to thank them for their support to ensure a foolproof scouting system as we zero down on the final squad for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.”
Trials are open to any players who match the required criteria.
Morning sessions will run each day from 07:00-10:00 with evening sessions from 20:00-22:00.
For more information contact local project coordinator Mohammed Shanavas via email on [email protected] or phone 050 203 0745.