SAI-AIFF launch online portal for overseas scouting programme

New Delhi, Sep 12 (IANS) In an effort to scout Indian footballers residing overseas for the current Under-16 national squad presently preparing for the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in collaboration with Sports Authority of India (SAI), on Monday launched an online portal.

The portal, which will go live on September 15, will allow Indian players who hold valid Indian passports but are residing overseas the opportunity to reach out to the scouts of the Indian team.

It also allows players residing outside India to submit their playing videos. The scouting team will watch these videos and the shortlisted players would be invited for a round of on-field trials in their country of residence.

After the on-field trials conducted by AIFF Director of Scouting Abhishek Yadav, Indian U-17 Head Coach Nicolai Adam will then have another close look at the selected players before drafting them into the final World Cup squad.

Hailing the concept, Sports Minister Vijay Goel said: “I am happy to launch this online portal. We are taking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative of ‘Khelo India’ ahead.

“It is a good step as it will provide Indian players, those who are residing outside the country with Indian passports opportunity to showcase their talent and skills,” he added.

“This is a message to whole world that we are connected to India and the country also needs us. By this we can unite everyone and we can also create a good football team.”

AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das thanked SAI and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for providing support to this project as well as Under-17 team for the preparation of the World Cup.

The U-17 World Cup is scheduled to be held in India during September-October 2017.

“This project is my favourite for some time and I have discussed it with Abhishek. The pilot project in Dubai was quite successful. The idea is to reach to all the players who have Indian passport and have a capability to play in national team,” Das said.

“Right now we are concentrating on the Under-17 team but in future we will enhance the scouting programme to other age groups also.” he stated.

Apart from sports minister and Das, Secretary Sports Ministry Rajiv Yadav, Adam and senior national team Head Coach Stephen Constantine were also present at the event.

–IANS

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