The All India Football Federation (AIFF) are all set to announce their plans to revive the Arrows project from the 2017-18 I-League season, Goal can reveal.
The primary motive behind this move is to ensure that the Under-17 players, who would represent India at the Under-17 World Cup in October, and the best talent from the Under-19 team stick together and ply their trade in the I-League. There is also a possibility that the AIFF might look to extend coach Luis Norton’s contract so that the former Benfica ‘B’ coach would continue to be at the helm of affairs.
It is learnt that the Indian FA intends to keep the boys together so that they continue their development and get good playing time, which wouldn’t be the case should they be allowed to join the clubs from the I-League or the Indian Super League (ISL).
The Arrows project was kickstarted at the behest of former India coach Bob Houghton who would point that the best young talent in the country was struggling for playing time as on most occasions, they would be warming the bench. With Praful Patel, the AIFF president approving the project, the Indian Arrows was launched in 2010-11 season from Delhi.
The second and third year saw the team shift base to Kolkata with Pailan Group coming in as the investors. However, the project had to be called off due to financial crunch in August 2013.
It must be noted that the some of the best players in the country currently have all been a part of the Arrows project which goes to show that from a footballing perspective, the decision to start a team of youngsters was a success.
The All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) Bid Evaluation Committee is set to meet on August 18 to decide on which teams would possibly make the cut into the next season’s top division league of the country.
Kushal Das, the AIFF general secretary, had stated that only two teams would make the cut from those who had made a bid to be a part of the I-League.
With the AIFF reinvesting in the Arrows project, there is a good chance that only one team from those who have shown an interest to be a part of the I-League would be granted an entry into the top league.