New Delhi: Aiming high and far, the AIFF is set to groom the best talent from the U-17 and U-19 age-groups and form the nucleus of a squad, which it hopes, is good enough to represent India in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2019 and the 2024 Olympic Games.
The All India Football Federation's technical committee met in Bengaluru to discuss the development plan for Indian football beyond the FIFA U-17 World Cup, which will be held in the country from 6 to 28 October.
"The idea is to have the best players from the U-17 World Cup team and the U-19 play the AFC U-19 Championship qualifiers and then the main event in 2018, eventually preparing them for the FIFA U-19 World Cup in 2019 and the 2024 Olympics," AIFF general secretary Kushal Das told PTI on Wednesday.
He added, "If they do well and qualify for the main event in 2018 and finish in the top four, they will be able to play the 2019 FIFA U20 World Cup."
The technical committee meeting was chaired by Shyam Thapa.
He said, "This is the right time for the AIFF to take up this long-term vision. I am very satisfied with the proposed long-term plan which would ensure the team gets prepared in the best possible fashion for future editions of Olympics, Asian Cup and Wold Cup."
Thapa proposed the setting up of residential academies in each state in collaboration with the AIFF and state associations.
A detailed report on the proposals will be submitted to AIFF president Praful Patel.
All the proposals will come up for discussion in the next executive committee meeting of the apex body.
Asked if there are plans to ensure participation of a development side, like Indian Arrows in the past, in the I- league, Das said, "Saying that the U-17 World Cup side will play in the I-League will be a misnomer.
"Again, the idea is to form a squad by having the best players from the U-16, U-17 and U-19 sides and play in the I- League. That team will be managed by the AIFF."
The technical committee felt that the team, composed of the young talents, should be given the best possible training and competitive environment, including "participation in the I-League for season 2017-18".
The technical committee also proposed to develop and groom Indian coaches and requested the technical director to come up with a detailed plan.
Vice-chairman of the technical committee, Henry Menezes, said, "The U-17 World Cup squad is the best among the next generation and clubbing them with the U-19 national team is the perfect roadmap and the best thing which can happen to Indian football.
"The boys would get adequate time to know each other and be fully prepared for future international competitions.
Updated Date: Aug 24, 2017 19:05 PM