Former India international Abhishek Yadav has been inducted into the Executive Committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) which wants an experienced Indian international in the committee ranks. His name was put forth by AIFF President Praful Patel and unanimously agreed upon by fellow committee members.
Abhishek Yadav’s stature has sky rocketed in the last couple of years as he has become one of the trusted lieutenants of AIFF President Praful Patel and General Secretary Kushal Das.
The 36-year-old is currently the National Scouts Director and is responsible for the selection of players into the national team from various age groups. In addition to that, he also holds the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Indian U-17 national team which is preparing rigorously for the upcoming FIFA U17 World Cup in October.
The Kanpur-born striker has been involved with Indian football since 1999 when he made his senior debut for Mahindra United. He went on to play for clubs like Churchill Brothers and Mumbai FC during his playing career and also represented India.
After his retirement from football, he kept himself involved in the game and was appointed the Director of Scouting in 2015 with the Indian FA keen to utilise his knowledge and experience. Moreover, he commands tremendous respect from his peers and current players.
Abhishek pioneered the unique AIFF-SAI Overseas Scouting Programme (OSP) which hunts for talented kids who hold an Indian passport in overseas countries.
In fact, the OSP helped find Namit Deshpande, a US-based Non Resident Indian (NRI), who is currently with the India U17 squad which is in Europe for an exposure tour. The programme also caught the attention of the Sports Ministry who want to deploy this programme in other sports as well with Abhishek's inputs.
His proactive work as the scouting director had impressed the AIFF and it was Yadav who was tasked with negotiating former India U17 coach Nicolai Adam's controversial exit back in January 2017.
As a member of the Executive Committee, Abhishek can participate in AIFF's Annual General Body Meetings and its development and assistance programmes. The Executive Committee is AIFF's decision making body and has wide-ranging powers including organising the AIFF competitions and supervise all the activities which fall under the purvey of the Indian FA.
Interestingly, Abhishek is an advocate of the I-League and ISL running simultaneously as he feels it will widen the scouting pool of the clubs and expose more Indian footballers to good quality coaching and facilities.
He said to Goal earlier when broached on the subject, "In my opinion and this is something which I had mentioned last year as well when the roadmap for Indian football was introduced, that leagues running parallely would benefit the players. I do think that younger players will get more opportunities. In fact, the AIFF and their partners are working on several projects which will create multiple opportunities for a budding players."
All in all, the latest role conferred upon Abhishek Yadav shows the ex-international's rising stature as a capable administrator among the Indian football fraternity.