Five trainees of the state-run Chandigarh Football Academy (CFA) have made it to the U-14 Indian team for the forthcoming Asian Football Festival to be organised by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in Tajikistan in the last week of May.
Amarjeet Singh (Manipur), Sanjeev (Bangalore), Dalbir Singh (Tarn Taran), Karan Singh (Jalandhar) and Manvir Singh (Nawanshahr) are part of the 18-member team. The team was selected after a month-long camp in Goa and will leave for the event on May 20.
“It is a great honour for the academy. One of our trainees Harsh Kumar suffered a shoulder injury during the camp, otherwise we would have six players in the squad,” said CFA coach and former Indian captain Harjinder Singh.
Harjinder added that the trip will be a great exposure for the players. “It can be a good learning curve. We have high hopes from this batch as many of them will be in line for the under-17 national team when India gets ready to host the 2017 U-17 World Cup here,” the coach added.
With theses five getting the national call, the CFA’s count of producing international players has touched 30. “At present starting from under-14 to the senior team, national squad in each age group has a CFA player. The counting is on,” the coach added.
In March this year, five of the former CFA trainees were selected in the 23-member Indian squad for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) under-23 Championship in Dhaka. “Despite being a small centre, we have been able to attract good talent,” Harjinder added.
Harjinder said the results had been encouraging, but his wards now needed regular exposure trips to further enhance the game. “Maybe, the UT Administration can tie-up with foreign team or an academy, where the players can be sent on regular basis. Already, we have proved that we can compete and better the best in the domestic circuit, some foreign exposure will add new dimension to the overall game,” Harjinder said.
In 2007, the CFA had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a sports university ‘Sportscheule Egidious Braun’ in Leipzig, Germany for advance training in football. The CFA used to send two batches there twice a year but the scheme was discontinued after few years.