Young Indian footballer Varin Mehta has signed a one-year contract with Belgian 2nd Division side Royal Antwerp FC.
The 21-year old forward had a one-year long trial with the Belgian club, before he was offered a contract with the first team for the 2011/12 season. Mehta is one of the talented youngster from the Mahindra United U19 team, who was forced to look for new options when the Mumbai-based club closed down last year.
Varin’s family has a background in the diamond industry and they used their contacts to arrange the trial for the young lad in Antwerp, which is a hub for diamond trade. The family even managed to rope in Reliance Industries (RIL) as a sponsor to pay some share of the fees, which need to be paid for international signings according to Belgian rules.
Royal Antwerp FC is the oldest football club to register to the Royal Belgian Football Association (KBVB) in 1895 and they have won four Belgian league titles so far, as well as two Belgian Cups. Antwerp played the 1993 European Cup Winners’ Cup final and lost 3-1 to FC Parma at Wembley Stadium. The club has a long-term partnership with EPL giants Manchester United, which allows them to take young Man Utd players on loan.
Varin Mehta hasn’t represented India at junior or senior level so far and he will be keen to perform well in Europe to get a chance to play for the national team. But one has to wait and see, if Varin can excel in Belgium and if he can adopt to the daily routine of a European 2nd Division league.
I wish Varin all the best for his one-year stint with Royal Antwerp FC and I hope fans won’t create an inappropriate hype around his contract with a European club. Varin will need time to settle in the Belgian league and we have to see, if he has the potential to learn day by day and to increase his level to clinch a spot in the first eleven.
It will be a good exposure for the young lad and we have to see, if his journey will be a successful one.