The workshop focused on highlighting methods to eradicate age-fraud in light of the upcoming U-17 World Cup India hosts in 2017, special focus on reining in talent into academies
The All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) Football House headquarters in Dwarka, Delhi, played host to representatives of all thirty state associations, who were in attendance for the ‘Coca Cola Cup Workshop 2014’ alongside the AIFF Technical body, on Tuesday.
The workshop was conducted with ta special impetuous on the selection of players to represent the Indian national team come the U-17 World Cup in 2017.
Kushal Das, General Secretary, of the AIFF, exclaimed, “This is one of the most important workshops I am attending as this will guide us as to how to select the Indian team for the 2017 U-17 FIFA World Cup.
“We need to understand that the Coca Cola Cup is the primary source for selection for India to field a competitive team in the event. I thank all of you for coming here and stay confident about your cooperation on the issue.”
He further added, “It’s important to stick to the AIFF philosophy as the selected boys will directly shift to the two academies which will prepare the squad for the 2017 U-17 FIFA World Cup.”
Scott O’Donnell, Who is the Technical Director of academies alongside being the Director of Coach education, was upbeat on the progress of the 34 boys, housed the AIFF Regional Academy, Goa.
“We presently have 34 players in our academy in Goa and they are divided into two groups. That means we have room for 13 more players in each of the teams. And if we find better quality players from the Coca Cola Cup, some of the players presently employed with us will have to go home,” explained the Australian.
“This is the preparation for the World Cup and there can’t be any sentiment involved. There just can’t be any compromise. We need to find and pick India’s best players to walk onto the field for the 2017 U-17 World Cup.
“AIFF President Praful Patel and Kushal Das have repeatedly stressed on the importance of using the Coca Cola Cup as the scouting platform for the tournament.
“We will be keeping on looking for players and it will never end. Even if we find a player who’s better than the academy players even prior to two months of the kick-off of the Championship, we will rope him in,” said O’Donnell.
Das also elucidated, “Youth Development is the key if we are to move forward. I urge full cooperation from all States and all other Stakeholders for the success of the Coca Cola Cup and the selection procedure of the World Cup in the larger perspective. I urge you all to broad base the initiative and involve all the districts for fool proof scouting.”
The Coca Cola championship is open to all players born on or after 01.01.2000 to 31.12.2002.
In this regard, Dr. GD Gandhi, Chairman of AIFF’s Sports Medical Committee, encouraged all age frauds to be detected and dealt with severely.
“Age-fraud is a burning issue in the Indian sporting scenario. But if we are to develop football in the country the demand of the time is to check age-fraud in all aspects. It is not impossible at all especially if one is determined to eradicate it,” stated Gandhi.
“If you, for example, create a database of players from the grassroot level, it will help, as the age of six, a kid can’t cheat. So when we reach a situation where we have doubts over the age of a player, we can always go back to the database,” concluded O’Donnell, who stressed on the importance of signing kids on at an early age, to limit the effects of age-fraud.