Football: Mahesh Gawli to replace Shanmugam Venkatesh as India U20’s head coach

Former India defender Mahesh Gawli was on Sunday recommended to take over as the head coach of the India U-20 men’s team from Shanmugam Venkatesh, who had earlier stepped down from the role.

The recommendation was made during the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) technical committee, which was chaired by former India captain IM Vijayan, here.

“The committee recommended that former Blue Tigers defender Mahesh Gawali take over as the head coach of the India U-20 Men’s National Team in place of Shanmugam Venkatesh, who had earlier tendered his resignation, which was duly accepted,” the AIFF said.

Gawali, at the same time, will also continue as the assistant coach of the senior men’s national team under Igor Stimac.

The technical committee recommended former India captains Oinam Bembem Devi and Harjinder Singh (senior) to be appointed as the chief of scouts in women’s and men’s football, respectively.

The committee also discussed the post of the technical director, for which, three candidates have been shortlisted — Vivek Nagul, Hilal Rasool and Santosh Kashyap. The committee will interview all the three and submit its recommendations to the executive committee by November 15.

Discussions on the Elite Youth League were also held at the meeting, and the committee recommended for it to be held in December across multiple venues. States that have already completed their youth leagues can nominate two teams, while others can nominate clubs from the ISL, I-League and other residential academies. Players born between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2008 will be eligible for the league.

The India U-17 men’s team, which qualified for the AFC U-17 Asian Cup 2023, earlier this year, is set to get more exposure in its bid to prepare for the continental stage, it was recommended. The committee suggested sending them for more exposure matches with higher ranked countries like Belgium, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others.

Apart from chairman Vijayan, AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey, secretary general Shaji Prabhakaran, deputy secretary general Sunando Dhar were also present in the meeting.




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