I-League 2017-18: AIFF's developmental side Indian Arrows set for debut against Chennai City FC
Indian Arrows, the cream of the country's U-17 and U-19 players, will have a first taste of top-tier domestic football when they lock horns against Chennai City FC in their opening I-League match in Bambolim, Goa on Wednesday.
Bambolim: Indian Arrows, the cream of the country's U-17 and U-19 players, will have a first taste of top-tier domestic football when they lock horns against Chennai City FC in their opening I-League match in Bambolim, Goa on Wednesday.
With no venue available in New Delhi for their first two home matches, the Indian Arrows have opted to play at Goa Medical College Athletic stadium in Bambolim.
This venue is a familiar one for the Indian Arrows boys as they have played here in the BRICS tournament and will be looking to get the right start in the I-League.
Most of the players in the AIFF's development side, consisting of a mixture of national U-17 and U-19 players, have played in the AFC U-19 Championships qualifiers in Saudi Arabia after the FIFA U-17 World Cup hosted by the country last month.
Head coach Luis Norton de Matos said his main aim was to give the boys quality playing time and gain experience.
"For us, winning or losing is not the criteria but our sole aim is to get good experience. I know it is going to be a big challenge for the boys to compete against teams who have foreign players who are physical tough and technically superior," de Matos said.
"The boys will be playing for two seasons in the I-League and the experience they get at the end of it will help them," said de Matos.
V Soundararajan, the coach of Chennai City FC, who will be making their debut in the I-League, said his players were happy to play against Indian Arrows.
"After the U-17 World Cup, we have a good opportunity to play against the best organised team in India. Tactically, they are superior to us," Soundararajan said.
"But the only drawback is that they do not have any foreigner in their team which comprises mostly U-17 and U-19 players and this gives us advantage over them and we will try to cash on the advantage and win tomorrow," he said.
Chennai City FC have four foreigners and local boys selected from Indian Bank and Customs.
"My players are energetic and I have full confidence in my boys that they will put up a good performance. Most of our boys who played last year have joined the ISL clubs and among them we have Ravanan who I will be employing as central defender to slow down the pace of the game against our opponents who move fast on the wings.
Borges was a vital cog in the Mumbai City squad that clinched the unique double in the 2020/21 season, winning the ISL League Winners' Shield and the ISL trophy.
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