Tag: Abhishek Yadav

India U-19s to play successive friendlies against Serbia

NEW DELHI: After playing in the four-nation tournament in Croatia against U-19 Youth Team of World Champions France, Runners-up Croatia, and Slovenia, the U-19 National Team will be travelling to Serbia to play two back-to-back International Friendlies against Serbia U-19s on September 13 and September 17, 2018 respectively in Serbia.

Both the matches are part of the exposure tour being organised by the All India Football Federation in coordination with SAI to provide the best possible preparation to the U-19 boys for the forthcoming I-League season, and an eye on U-19 AFC Championship qualification next year.

National Team Director Abhishek Yadav said playing regularly against youth teams of nations in top 50 of FIFA Rankings has its own significance.

“Serbia will be the fifth top-50 team (as per the FIFA rankings) that we will be facing within a month-and-a-half. In a 50-day period, we will be competing six matches under our belt against regular World Cuppers from the two continents of World Football — South America and Europe,” he stated.

“The matches have been part of competitions so there has been that added edge. The players and our all-Indian staff are learning from these tough tests. Motivation levels are now much higher. I am satisfied with the way we were able to design this pre-season and this is the way we aim to continue,” he added. “I am optimistic the influence of all these programmes will be seen for long to shape up a better future for Indian Football.”

The Indian U-19s had earlier participated in the COTIF Cup in Spain before flying to the Croatia for the Four-Nation Tournament. In the COTIF Cup, the Indian Colts had defeated U-20 Argentina 2-1 and held U-20 World Cup runners-up Venezuela 0-0.

Quality and growth of Indian football has been compromised: Kushal Das

NEW DELHI: Following Indian Olympic Association’s decision in not clearing the Indian Football Team(s) to participate in the forthcoming Asian Games, Kushal Das, General Secretary, All India Football Federation labelled the move as “sad and disheartening.” Addressing a press conference at the Football Headquarters in Delhi, Das reflected on the issue, the willingness of sending the Team(s) at AIFF’s expense, the failure of the IOA to recognize the achievements of Indian Football and much more.

Abhishek Yadav, present Director of National Teams, also present on the occasion informed on how the decision affects the future generation of Indian Football being deprived of valuable exposure. EXCERPTS FROM THE PRESS CONFERENCE:

Has there been an official communication from IOA’s side?

Never! There hasn’t been any official announcement from IOA about the same and all we got has been a verbal communication. The IOA never followed the protocol of communication and did not even inform us as to why the Football Team(s) have been barred from participating in the Asian Games.

Why don’t you send the Football Team(s) at your own expense?

We have expressed our disappointment to IOA officially wherein we have even mentioned that we are willing to bear expenses of travel and stay on our own.

The IOA had asked for an explanation way back on June 4, 2018 and after that there has been no communication as to whether the IOA wants to engage further or not. Even Mr. (Praful) Patel, the AIFF President spoke to IOA President Mr. Narinder Batra and he was told the same thing – ‘to draft an explanation for reconsideration.’

Football is a global and a different kind of sport. We have jumped from 173 to 97 in FIA Rankings since 2015 and it is time that the IOA looked at things differently.

How will this affect Indian Football?

11 Players in the Senior National Team setup are U-23 and immediately after the Asian Games we head to the SAFF Championship where a significant number of youth players will be part of the squad. Moving ahead, in 2019 we have the AFC U-23 Qualifiers and this would have been a great learning exposure for the players.

It is sad and disheartening that the IOA has adopted such an approach. We were 173 in 2015 and as of today we are 97 in the FIFA rankings which explains the significant efforts made for the evolution of Football in India. The fact that we have qualified for the AFC Asian Cup and have setup various grassroots initiatives and Youth Leagues are a testament of that effort.

Even for the Women National Team there have been significant efforts to develop the squad and they were already in camp and were supposed to play a tournament in Spain as preparation for the Asian Games.

Abhishek Yadav, present Director of National Teams, AIFF sitting next, added:

We were considering calling up U-17 World Cup players for the preparatory Camp for the Asian Games. The Indian Arrows’ players who have the experience of playing in the World Cup and the I-League represent the next generation of Indian Football. The Asian Games would have been a huge experience for them which would have served Indian Football in the long run. We are pushing aggressively to develop our players and the more exposure the players get, the better it is for Indian Football.

Has the Government been supportive?

Kushal Das said: The Government and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports have been hugely supportive of our developmental activities. We have received an unprecedented support from their side which is significantly much more than what we used to get.

However, the decision of not allowing the Team is solely of the IOA and not of the MYAS.

Are you optimistic that the IOA will change their stance?

We are still optimistic that the team will receive the green signal for participation. We are asking for an explanation and maybe the IOA will reconsider their stance.

We are ranked currently 13th in Asia (if you leave aside Australia), and if the IOA criteria is the top 8 teams, we are not behind. But regardless of the IOA decision, the development process will never stop. We will continue the process of evolving our National Teams one way or the other as the ultimate goal is to emerge as one of the top Asian nations in the near future.

AIFF President meets U-17 WC Team at training season


NEW DELHI: All India Football Federation President Praful Patel paid a visit to the Indian U-17 National Team’s training session at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the Capital on Thursday.

“You need to enjoy the moment,” he told the boys. “The entire Country is rooting for you,” he added.

In the past few days, celebrities from all spheres of life right from Virat Kohli to Akshay Kumar to Sunil Chhetri to Mithali Raj to Varun Dhawan to VVS Laxman amongst others have poured in their best wishes for the National Team on social media handles.

Pointing up to the stands, Patel stated: “There will be around 50000 people in the stands shouting for you. Don’t put any pressure on yourself. Play your heart out,” he pronounced.

Patel met all the boys individually, greeted Coach Luis Norton de Matos and had a chat with Abhishek Yadav, Executive Committee member, also the COO of the U-17 National Team.

The Team presented Patel with a National Team jersey with his name inscribed on the back.

The players obviously were floored by the gesture. Winger Komal Thatal said: “It is such an inspiration for all of us to have him at the training session. We thank him for being here,” he said.

Happy to continue with overseas scouting programme says Praful Patel


NEW DELHI: AIFF President, Praful Patel observed that the Overseas Scouting Programme which helped in unearthing talent from foreign shores is “a resounding success”. The programme was launched keeping the U-17 World Cup in mind but Patel said that “we will be happy to continue with the programme.”

On September 21 U-17 Head Coach Luis Norton de Matos announced his 21-man squad for the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017, including two NRI players, defender Namit Deshpande and goalkeeper Sunny Dhaliwal.

“We are happy to continue Overseas Scouting Programme. If there is any available talent complying with all the Government regulations then we will be more than happy to encourage them as they are also as Indian as we all are”, opined the AIFF President.

Asked about the future of the programme apart from the U-17 team he said, “We will in due course continue this programme in other age groups too. But we have to honour the laws of the land”

“People assume that any Person of Indian Origin (PIO) can play for India, but it is not the case. You need to be an Indian passport holder to be eligible. You also cannot be a dual citizen or passport holder. The laws are quite clear about citizenship and who can represent India”, clearing any doubt on the eligibility criteria.

The programme in partnership with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the Overseas Scouting Portal (OSP) was launched to ensure Non-Resident Indians (NRI) also had a chance to play for the India U17 team. AIFF’s scouting team, led by Abhishek Yadav, explored every avenue and left no stone unturned to unearth talent footballing talent to represent the nation.

Past heroes praise Stephen’s boys before Macau clash

NEW DELHI, August 30, 2017: At a time when accolades are flowing from every corner for Stephen Constantine’s boys for making an all-time Indian record of winning 9 International matches on the trot (including the un-official match against Bhutan), Constantine’s past pupils who were part of the Indian Team for the 2011 Asian Cup in Doha, also joined in the applause.

“The 2011 Asian Cup was a huge learning experience for us. This present team is on a roll and are very close to repeating the feat. Make it count,” ace defender Dipak Mondal echoed. “Constantine has brought in a fighting spirit into the team and that provide our boys a cutting edge over their opponents,” he added.

The sturdy defender lauded the 10-match unbeaten run and he credited ‘the team effort’ for this achievement. “It rightly reflects how well-tuned they are at the moment. Right from the coach to the players, everyone is operating together as a team.”

Mondal’s central defence partner Mahesh Gawli also sounded exuberant. “As former Footballers, we look for an upward graph of our National Team. I’m really happy that they are doing well. I wish all the best for their forthcoming match against Macau,” he pronounced.

Abhishek Yadav, presently an AIFF Executive Committee member who started his International career under Constantine in 2002 felt a qualification for the 2019 Asian Cup will be the best thing for Indian Football.”

“In 2011, we qualified for the AFC Asian Cup after 27 years and these boys are on the verge of making it again within 8 years. It shows we have made significant progress recently and we’re in the right direction to reach the next level,” Yadav, who scored the golden goal in the LG Cup final for India, stated.

“Under the aegis of AIFF, other programs are also running pretty well. We’ve recently triumphed in the U-15 SAFF Championship and the U-17 boys have shown their character on foreign soil. A lot of hard work is being put in by AIFF and hence, the results are coming on the bigger stage,” Yadav referred to the other achievements.

Mondal and Gawli, meanwhile, were all praise for the current defensive unit for their compact defensive displays.

“I learnt they didn’t concede a goal for 300-odd minutes. That’s really stupendous in International Football at any point of time. It shows that the defenders, the goalkeeper and others are perfectly synchronised and they’ve to maintain this until the job is finished,” Mondal certified.

Gawli pointed out ‘the healthy competition’ is the key to success. “There’s a healthy competition amongst the defenders and this is a good headache for the Coach. Constantine has been rotating the squad and more youngsters are getting the opportunities to showcase their talent. It just reiterates his trust on his boys,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, Yadav praised Stephen’s ‘work-ethic’ behind the success.

“Constantine is renowned for his work-ethic and it gets transformed into the players as well. The progress from 173 to 96 in FIFA Rankings, the 10-match unbeaten streak are undoubtedly the highlights of Indian Football. I feel they have the calibre to take it forward.”

India players excited for 2017 U-17 World Cup

NEW DELHI, July 20, 2017: A dream is like a raging fire inside of one, which drives one to achieve their goal through sheer hard work, persistence, and dedication but what if the dream ‘almost’ comes true before one turns 17?

The word ’dream’ for Shubham Sarangi and Rahul K.P is synonymous to “playing in the FIFA World Cup” and the duo will quip without a second’s delay. Both Sarangi and Rahul are part of the Indian U-17 World Cup Team which will play in the first ever FIFA World Cup hosted by India and India’s first ever participation in a FIFA World Cup, the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 India.

“I told a lot of lies to my parents to play Football and the FIFA U-17 World Cup for me is a dream come true and I am really excited and pumped up for the FIFA U-17 World Cup,” said striker Shubham Sarangi.

In tune, midfielder Rahul KP added, “I fought with my family to play Football and the love for Football for me will never go away. I can die for Football”

“Every Player has a history. All Indian Players are my inspiration but Sunil Chhetri has inspired me a lot,” Shubham stated. “When I was small he came to my school and inspired me a lot to take up Football”

“When we are together as a Team every moment is a special. When we play against other Teams I try to enjoy the game and give my best,” Rahul said.

“Every Coach has a different philosophy. We not only have a good Coach but a good human being with us,” Shubham informed. “He is teaching us Football and is our mentor in life.

“The Coach told me a lot about hard work and I believe in hard work a lot. If you work hard, anything is possible,” Rahul stated.

Shubham Sarangi was identified as potential for the Indian U-17 World Cup Squad through the AIFF scouting network developed by AIFF’s Director of Scouting Abhishek Yadav. Out of almost 5000 budding Footballers, Sarangi was one of the few who made it to the National Camp when the scouted talents were zeroed in.

While, Rahul K.P came through the ranks of the AIFF Academy setup to become a part of the Indian U-17 World Cup Squad.

For the duo, the game against Portuguese Club side Benfica S.L where the Indian Colts came back from two goals down to draw the match 2-2, has been the most memorable moment in India colors.

“The Benfica Players were surprised to watch us and after the match we were applauded by them,” Rahul told. “Coming back from two goals down in the last fifteen minutes and making it 2-2 was a wonderful moment. It felt like we could do anything,” Shubham said.

Preparatory camp ahead of AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers kick-off in New Delhi


NEW DELHI: The final preparatory camp ahead of the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers kicked-off under National Coach Stephen Constantine at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi on Monday (June 19, 2017). 34 players have been summoned for the Camp which will continue until July 1, 2017 before the team departs for an exposure trip to the USA.

Besides players playing in the I-League, Constantine has also called two players from the U-22 trials, players for which were scouted by the AIFF scouting network led by Executive Committee member Abhishek Yadav. Yadav and his team had selected players from inter-university championships, inter-college tournaments, Santosh Trophy, Second Division League, Reliance Foundation Youth Sports (RFYS) as well as the overseas scouting programme.

India are slated to face Syria, Turkmenistan and Qatar in Group C of 2018 AFC U-18 Championship Qualifiers which are scheduled from July 19, 2017 to July 23, 2017 in Doha, Qatar.

“Our aim is to qualify for the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship. The qualifiers are in a month’s time and hence, we can’t just sit back and ponder over,” Constantine maintained. “New Delhi is the ideal venue to get acclimatised to the current weather of Qatar. Our focus was on working in the similar conditions to Qatar,” he added.

AIFF has also organised for an exposure Tour for the squad to the USA which Constantine believes will “come in handy.”

“We are scheduled to go on an exposure trip to California early next month. We’ll play three or possibly four competitive matches against some club age-group teams and senior teams which will definitely come handy before we face Qatar, Syria and Turkmenistan in the Qualifiers,” Constantine mentioned.

The list of players attending the camp is as follows:

GOALKEEPERS: Vishal Kaith, Sukhadev Shivaji Patil, Kamaljit Singh, Phurba Tempa Lechenpa.

DEFENDERS: Nishu Kumar, Lalramchullova, Chinglensana Singh Konsham, Salam Ranjan Singh, Sarthak Golui, Sairuatkima, Lalruatthara, Nitesh Deepak Aswani, Subhasish Bose, Jerry Lalrinzuala.

MIDFIELDERS: Nikhil Chandrashekhar Poojary, Raynier Raymond Fernandes, Isaac Vanmalsawma Chhakchhuak, Germanpreet Singh, Vinit Rai, Mawihmingthanga, Asharudeen Pulparamban, Saurabh Das, Enestar Malngiang, Robinson Singh Khumukcham, Vignesh Dakshina Murthy, Chesterpoul Lyngdoh, Lallianzuala Chhangte.

FORWARDS: Hitesh Sharma, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Anto Xavier, Alen Deory, Manvir Singh, Azharuddin Mullick.