Indian Super League (ISL) champions Chennaiyin FC have announced that they have signed India youth internationals Uttam Rai and Daniel Lalhlimpuia as the two developmental players of their first team squad for ISL 2016.
19-year-old striker Uttam has signed a one-year deal with Chennaiyin after the expiry of his contract at Goan outfit Dempo Sports Club while 18-year-old forward Daniel joins CFC on loan from I-League champions Bengaluru FC.
The two forwards have represented India at various age group levels with the duo playing together upfront on some occasions including the final rounds of the 2012 Under-16 Asian Cup.
Uttam, who hails from Sikkim, got his early football education at the Namchi Football Academy after being spotted at “the search for more Bhaichungs program”. He impressed in several youth tournaments before representing India youth teams and went on to have a stint at the IMG Soccer Academy in Florida.
The Sikkimese youngster also had a training stint at Colorado Rush of USA before joining Dempo in 2014. Uttam helped Dempo win back promotion to the I-League as the Goan club won the second division in 2016.
Daniel is from Mizoram and joined the Chandigarh football academy at the age of 10. He spent six years there, scoring plenty of goals in various youth tournaments, before joining the AIFF Elite Academy.
While at the AIFF Elite Academy, Daniel also captained India at U-19 level and went on to sign his first professional contract with Bengaluru last year. He played his part in Benglauru winning the 2015-16 I-League title with his first-ever I-League goal coming in the win over Mumbai FC.
Daniel also made a key contribution in Bengaluru’s progression to the AFC Cup quarter-finals as he scored the winner against Hong Kong’s Kitchee in the round of 16 tie.
“We are happy to have signed two of the most talented young forwards in Uttam and Daniel. We believe in them to make a key impact in our title defence,” said Chennaiyin FC co-owner Mrs Vita Dani.
“Playing in the ISL will be a dream come true for me. I would like to thank the owners and the coach for giving me this opportunity. I am looking forward to learn and at the same time help Chennaiyin win the ISL again,” said Uttam.
“Last 7-8 months have been great for me and now I am looking to build on it by doing well for Chennaiyin in the ISL. I would like to thank both the Bengaluru and Chennaiyin management for making this move happen,” Daniel stated.
(Chennaiyin FC Press Release)