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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 29 May 2024

All India Football Federation hopes U-20 tournament will help to form talent pool

The federation has roped in former Air-India coach Bimal Ghosh as a scout

Our Special Correspondent Calcutta Published 14.04.24, 10:57 AM
Action during the under-20 football tournament.

Action during the under-20 football tournament. AIFF

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) hopes that the inaugural Swami Vivekananda under-20 men’s national football championship, which began at the Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama Sports Complex at Narainpur in Chhattisgarh on Friday, will act as a bridge between the players coming out of under-17 tournaments and making it to the senior grade.

A total of 32 states are participating in the championship. The final will be played on May 22.

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“After the under-17 National Championship, we never had an age-group national-level tournament. You cannot expect a rookie straight away to graduate to Santosh Trophy. We are hopeful this tournament will serve the purpose,” AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey said.

The federation has roped in former Air-India coach Bimal Ghosh as a scout.

“This tournament will help us produce players for the next Asian Games too,” Chaubey added. The Asian Games is an under-23 tournament with three senior players allowed to be in the squad.

“The government gives priority to the Asiad. We have to ensure that we have enough pool of under-23 players. Herein lies the importance of the ongoing under-20 meet,” Chaubey said.

The sprawling Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama has an in-house full-fledged football pitch, training facilities, and a residential area.

“We are grateful to them for helping us organise the tournament,” he added.

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