With an eye on the upcoming Fifa Under-17 World Cup in 2017, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Thursday signed an agreement with Brazilian club Atletico Paranaense in a bid to develop a competitive team.
The one-year deal, beginning December, will see young Indian players practice for a minimum of 30 days at the club's premises, which was the base camp for the Spanish national team during the World Cup earlier this year.
"We want to prepare a competitive squad as hosts. If we don't, there won't be interest," said AIFF general secretary, Kushal Das.
Luis Sallim, Atletico vice-president, whose youth academy has seen players like Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho, hoped the club can repay the faith shown by AIFF. "They could have chosen a club with bigger name but they have made the best choice because of our excellence in youth development."