With the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) Pailan Arrows side being disbanded, the governing body of football in India inserted a clause in the regulations of I-League 2013-14.
“The 18 player list must have two players that are Under-23. The starting eleven must have an Under-23 player,” the document read.
Eelco Schattorie found a loop-hole and replaced young Biswajit Biswas in the sixth minute with CK Vineeth for United Sports Club. However, despite the drawback, many youngsters got an opportunity to showcase their talent.
Most coaches in the I-League used more than one under-23 player in their starting line-ups and in some cases gave them ample opportunities to prove their mettle.
In most press conferences, several coaches have chosen to highlight the number of youngsters in their team and remarked that the path of youth development taken by them may have resulted in occasional blips in the performance graph.
Herein, we provide the number of minutes under-23 Indian players (which leaves Penn Orji out of discussion!) were used by each side and the percentage of the total minutes they have played.
We also mention the number of Under-23 Indian players used by each team throughout the campaign.
This only takes into account players who have played at least a minute on the field. So, it leaves out players like Sahil Tavora and Sandeep Singh from the calculation, who didn’t actively participate.
|Club||Minutes played||Percentage of minutes played||Number of U-23 players used||League position|
The table takes into account all 93 young players (Bikramjit Singh has played for both Churchill and Bagan, and hence has been counted twice) who have been part of the action in the country's most coveted football league.
The above table shows that Arthur Papas deployed the maximum number of young players at Dempo SC with several of the former Pailan Arrows players joining the Goan club. Though it would require a thorough statistical study to establish it as a fact, it can be safely assumed that foreign coaches alloted more game-time to the young players as five of the top six teams who used maximum under-23 players had foreign coaches.
The table also shows that the number of minutes played by the Under-23 players was not instrumental in deciding the team's fate. They aren't directly related as the correlation comes out to be 0.35 (Rule of thumb in statistics: If correlation comes very much less than 1, then there isn't a strong relation between the two ranks).