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The journey of Amarjit Singh - The first India international born in the 21st century

05:25 IST 11/06/2019
Amarjit Singh Kiyam FIFA U17 World Cup 2017 India U17 training
Amarjit Singh's rise to the Indian national team is also a testament to the Indian Arrows project...

Amarjit Singh became the first player born in the 21st century to start for the Indian team in an international game after he featured in their 1-0 win over Thailand in the King’s Cup.

The central midfielder put on a solid shift, much like most of the new cream of young Indian players who were handed an opportunity to prove their merits by new coach Igor Stimac.

It has been quite a journey for the international who had captained the U17 World Cup side two years ago in the World Cup. From being initiated into the football by his uncle Deben Singh, to furthering his football education at the Chandigarh Football Academy (CFA), and then playing for the senior India team, Amarjit has come a long way.

After countless exposure tours and meticulous training programmes, when the India team for the U17 World Cup was announced back in 2017, the group of youngsters were seen as the future of India.

And the first from that team to make the step up to the national team has been Amarjit Singh who has done so through sheer hardwork and perseverance. The 18-year-old displays a certain tenaciousness which make him a valuable asset for coaches in midfield. That has been evident in the way he has grown into a key player for India's junior teams and the Indian Arrows who ply their trade in the I-League.

Amarjit is also the first to make the Indian national team grade from the revived Indian Arrows project. The Arrows project has helped the U17 World Cup team to further their development and ensured proper game time for them.

"We started the Arrows project with the sole aim of improving the U17 World Cup boys. We did not want them to struggle for game time once they joined professional clubs. The Arrows provided them with crucial match practice in critical phase of their development. Hopefully, more boys from the project reach the national team in the near future," said AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das.

Amarjit, one of the youngest of the lot to play in the U17 World Cup team, was elected captain of the U17 World Cup team by his own teammates and coach Luis Norton de Matos for the maturity and leadership quality he displays on the field.

It was not surprising to see Indian Super League (ISL) side Jamshedpur FC win the bididng war to sign Amarjit before loaning him back out. He had several offers from ISL sides.

He became a vital member of Floyd Pinto's team and several eye-catching performances saw Igor Stimac call him up for his first national camp. His best performance on the big stage was in the Super Cup earlier this year when his brace for Indian Arrow sunk Kerala Blasters in the qualifying round.

When a technically proficient Curacao team were all over the Indian defence in his first ever game in charge of the Blue Tigers, Stimac had the guts to turn to the 18-year-old and brought him into the midfield alongside Raynier Fernandes. That solidified the team and Amarjit, in particular, was excellent.

He kept biting on the heels of physically and technically dominant Curacao players, including former Premier League star Leandro Bacuna, and helped India plug their leaks. It was no surprise to see him handed a starting role against Thailand.

Amarjit is surely a name for the future and the King's Cup is just the first page of a new chapter in his life.