India will be hosting the Under-17 Football World Cup in 2017. The Sports Authority of India, in conjunction with the All India Football Federation, has launched a project to scout out young talent for its team.
The Chief Project Director for the Sports Authority of India, an ex-Olympian, S.S. Hakeem, told reporters: “Our plan is to search for the talented youth who can be the potential players of India’s Under-17 WC team in 2017. India is hosting the mega event and in order to put up a good show, we want to have the best players represent the country. We want to create a formidable side for 2017.”
The football talent scouting project is likely to turn up a number of potentially good players. It was noted that “quality comes when there is quantity.” Those looking for footballers will be searching in a number of locations around India. A shortlist will be made, and once the list is narrowed down, the players will be nurtured at football academies located around the country, including locations such as Kolkata and New Delhi.
With cricket being the most popular sport in India, there has been a move to introduce other sports to the youth. Football has since gained some popularity.
Before scouting the talent in Kashmir, Hakeem commented: “There is much more football in Kashmir than anywhere else in the country. I have high hopes that selectors will find some talented youth during the trials that will make it to the nurture camps for New Delhi where they will be given training.”
Hakeem cast aspersions on the fact that there are few domestic football tournaments in India. He noted that having tournaments is an important part of attracting the youth.
“We have less domestic tournaments,” he said. “If there are no tournaments, then there won’t be any interest left in the youth. They do not play for entertainment.”