Goa, India’s football hub, has no player in Indian team for FIFA U-17 World Cup | football | Hindustan Times
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Goa, India’s football hub, has no player in Indian team for FIFA U-17 World Cup

The national team for next year’s Fifa U-17 World Cup does not have a single Goan player in its ranks, a surprising development given Goa is one of the bastions of Indian football.

football Updated: Dec 17, 2016 00:33 IST
The national team for next year’s Fifa U-17 World Cup does not have a single player from Goa  in its ranks.
The national team for next year’s Fifa U-17 World Cup does not have a single player from Goa in its ranks.(Photo: AIFF)

When not playing abroad in one of their numerous exposure trips, the Indian Under-17 football team slated to represent the country at the Under-17 World Cup next year is based at Goa. When the U-16 AFC Championship was held in India last year, it was conducted in the football-mad state. However, the team did not have a single Goan player in their ranks, a surprising development given Goa is one of the bastions of Indian football.

It is learnt, the reason is the Goa Football Association’s (GFA) ineptitude to field a team to play Nicolai Adam’s team in April earlier this year when the All India Football Federation (AIFF) had organised exposure-cum-selection matches.

“There was a match scheduled with the GFA U-17 team just like there was with five other association teams like Western India Football Association (WIFA). However, just 48 hours before the match, they decided to cancel the match stating that they were not ready with a team. It was surprising considering the GFA had itself decided the date for the match two months in advance,” a source privy to the development told HT on condition of anonymity.

One source, who has worked with one of the three Goan teams to leave I-League recently, told HT that one of the reasons why the state association could not put together a team was that clubs had already released their young players, who had been contracted with them for the Goan youth league.

Surprisingly, the Goa team had participated in the 37th Sub-Junior national football championship held in the same month when GFA were slated to play against Adam’s wards.

A GFA Executive Committee member, who also handles a former I-League club, told HT that AIFF only conducted a scouting camp, earlier this year, in Goa after GFA asked them. He alleged that the camp was a farce because none of the 25 players who played in that camp were picked to play in the Indian team.