‘Winning Subroto Cup in front of Pele was beneficial’

New Delhi, Oct 19 (IANS) All India Football Federation (AIFF) technical director Scott O’Donell believes AIFF Academy boys clinching the Subroto Cup Under-17 title in front of the iconic Pele was a spectacular and remarkable moment for the young bunch.

The AIFF Academy boys outplayed Little Angels Paradise Secondary School of Manipur 4-1 at the Ambedkar Stadium here on October 16 to win the coveted trophy.

“It is always nice to win but it should not be the priority in youth development. I said to the boys before the game, that if they play the way we know they can play, then the result will take care of itself,” O’Donell said.

“Winning the Subroto Cup was very pleasing for the boys but for me the experience of playing in a competition and playing the final in front of such a big crowd and particularly in front of Pele, was extremely beneficial for the boys.”

When asked about his message for the young boys ahead of the match, he said, “I spoke to the boys before our first game against Bangalore and told them that this is the chance to show me and the coaching staff that they deserve to stay in the Academy. They were up against teams that wanted to show us that they are better than our current lot.

“That was their challenge and I am happy to say that we have identified some very talented players and will be looking forward to seeing them in the coming months,” he said.

AIFF had placed their scouts in both the age-categories in the Subroto Cup.

When asked if AIFF has any specific plans for the boys whose names have been jotted down, the technical director said, “We have had our scouts present throughout the junior and sub-junior categories of the Subroto Cup and plan to call up those boys identified for trials.

“We are particularly interested in the 1999 born boys for the next Under-19 team and 2002 born boys for our next Under-16 squad. But like our different age group academies, the door will always remain open. We are always looking for better players to strengthen our squads.”

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