AIFF plans junior team in I-League

A top AIFF official said the team will comprise under-21 and under-23 players and the project is the brainchild of federation president Praful Patel. The official said Bollywood stars and corporate honchos have shown interest in sponsoring the junior team.

“Lot of corporates have approached Mr Patel. He thinks this is the best way to groom the junior players for the 2018 World Cup and the Asian Games in China this year. We just have four years in hand as the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup will start from 2014,” the official said.

“Some of the top corporates, who have interest in world football, are in contention. Some of the Bollywood stars are also interested in the project. All the boys will be given a four-year contract till 2014, so that we can keep them together.”

A coach associated with AIFF told IANS that it will be a good opportunity for the junior players. “This club is going to be the nursery for the national team. These players don’t get a chance to play in bigger clubs. So, it is good idea to give these players more opportunities,” he said.

The AIFF has received a sponsorship of Rs 250 million to prepare the senior team for the 2011 Asia Cup while the sports ministry has doled out Rs 100 million to groom the under-23 squad for the Asian Games in Guangzhou.

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