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The Indian FA are focussed on building a strong team which shall feature in the U-17 World Cup in three years’ time...

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) have stepped up efforts to recruit a foreign coach for India’s Under-17 side. With India qualifying for the Under-17 World Cup as a host nation, the AIFF wants to ensure that the youngsters representing India are competitive enough in order to avoid being embarrassed on home soil.

“I’m not much worried about the organizational aspects. Because FIFA shows some leniency in infrastructural requirements (for the U-17 World Cup). My priority is on developing the team. In my opinion, if we can’t form a competitive Indian team for the World Cup, we may end up facing great embarrassment,” AIFF general secretary Kushal Das was quoted saying in The Times of India.

“In a major step towards this end, the federation has sought advice from FIFA in identifying the coach. “We are in the process of hiring the coach. He won’t be an Indian because we don’t have anybody qualified to manage the team at such a level.

“We'll also approach (national coach) Wim Koevermans and (AIFF technical director) Rob Baan for their guidance in this regard. We are hopeful of finalizing the name before the final round of Coca Cola Cup in December, “he added.

Das also mentioned that the AIFF is planning for a national under-15 league this year which shall see the I-League, Indian Super League (ISL) and some of the country’s top academies participating.

“We have a fallacy (in the system) that no proper competition is held for youth teams for long a period of time. We want to change this. Fifa is also willing to support us in this endeavour. The proposed Under-15 league may start in December-January and run for about four-five months. It will involve 24-28 teams, including teams from the AIFF academies.”

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