AGENCIES, BHUBANESWAR: Some of them may be 15, or 16. But they are different. Give them a football, and perhaps will make you dance to their tune. The senior pros in the Hero I-League will admit.
The Indian Arrows have always been the steady pipeline to the Senior National Team. But it’s not just the boys from the FIFA U-17 World Cup Team who have made the mark this season.
To maintain the transition, 7 boys from the India U-16 National Team which stayed a match away from earning a direct berth to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2019, were added to Head Coach Floyd Pinto’s squad this season.
Out of the seven, one stays a 15-year old, three 16-year olds, and another three 17-year olds. Not to forget the 16-year old Rohit Danu who scored 4 goals in the Hero I-League this season.
"The boys from Bibiano’s team have added lots of creativity, enthusiasm and most importantly, competition for places. I feel that's the reason behind the team's performance this season,” Floyd Pinto, Head Coach, Indian Arrows stated.
Moreover, 11 young Turks from Indian Arrows, including Danu, have been called up by the newly-appointed India U-23 coach Derrick Pereira for the preparatory camp before the forthcoming AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers which is scheduled later this month in Tashkent.
"The fact that 11 players have been selected for the U-23 camp only justifies the reason behind the Arrows project which will continue to provide with the supply line to the next age-group National Team, and eventually the senior team.”
“They have just returned after a tough game against Qatar and they must have learnt some invaluable lesson from that game. We ended the season with a 3-1 win against none but Mohun Bagan at the Salt Lake Stadium. It was a testament of our hard work throughout the season,” Pinto maintained.
Rohit Danu, the youngest player to score a Hero I-League goal, has been a revelation this year, and Pinto didn't mince his words to heap praises on the youngster for his exploits.
"Rohit Danu, who scored 4 goals in the Hero I-League, could be the perfect example of our youngsters' credibility. We hope this influx of talents in the team is only going to help us in the coming games, more importantly in the AFC U19 Championship qualifiers." Pinto referred to the AFC U-19 Championship 2020 qualifiers which is slated to take place later this year.
Besides Rohit, Vikram Partap Singh, who netted the solitary goal for India against Vietnam in the AFC U-16 Championship last year, also found the back of the net in this edition of Hero I-League.