News Live Scores
Indian Arrows

Indian Arrows boys likely form the core of Indian team in near future

5:06 AM WAT 24/07/2019
Mohun Bagan Indian Arrows
The revival of the Indian Arrows project was one of the best steps taken by the Indian FA in 2017….

The Indian Arrows project was a brainchild of former India coach Bob Houghton who had suggested the Indian FA to maintain this team in order to give more playing time to the U19 and U23 national team players.

The project was binned in 2013 after running for three seasons in the I-League. It was a fairly successful undertaking by the Indian FA as the country got several quality players from that team.

Most of the present day stars who are dominating the Indian football scene have all been part of the Arrows side at some point in time. India internationals like Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Jeje Lalpekhlua etc have all represented the team.

The Indian Arrows project was revived by the All India Football Federation in 2017 post the FIFA U17 World Cup in order to further nurture the crop of players who represented the country in that tournament.

There was some scepticism initially as the team comprised of 16 and 17 years old boys and they were pitted against senior professional footballers both Indian and international.

But the India colts have done a commendable job in the past two seasons. They finished last in their debut I-League season. But they did manage to pull off several brilliant wins and then finished eighth last year out of 11 teams.

Continued game time has helped these boys match up to senior, experienced players. They have played I-League and have also represented the country in India's age group teams. They have played a lot of international matches in the form of exposure tours and continental qualifiers.

Consistent game time at such a young age has seen them make the step up from the U17 level to professional football seamlessly and have already proven that they are India's best crop of players.

Several Indian Arrows boys were selected in India’s U23 squad for the AFC U23 Championship qualifiers and two of them - Amarjit Singh and Narender Gahlot - have already made their international debuts recently under Igor Stimac.

While former U17 skipper Amarjit Singh started in four out of the five international India played recently, defender Narender scored his maiden international goal against Syria in the final match of the Intercontinental Cup.

“Honestly speaking, the Arrows project has laid the foundation for us. It allowed us to bloom. I am just so grateful,” Amarjit, who became the first player born in the 21st century to represent the Blue Tigers, stated. “Whatever I have matured as a player, the entire credit goes to the Arrows.”

“Had I joined any other club, I would have struggled to get enough game-time. That would have hampered my growth as a player," he said.

The likes of Anwar Ali, Rahul KP, Rohit Danu and Abhijit Sarkar to mention a few are seen as long term solutions to the Indian national team, provided they keep working hard and improving their game. Consistent playing time at the highest level is a must for that.

Most Indian Arrows players have already joined several I-League and ISL clubs this season and are slowly breaking into the senior national side and like their predecessors, these boys are likely to form the core of the Indian national team in future.

By the time the 2023 Asian Cup comes along and India plays the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers (the tournament offers at least 8 spots for Asian teams), this crop of Arrows boys will be in their prime and ready to propel India's bid for a World Cup spot.