THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Hard working AIFF Youth Development Programme trio needs to work harder

Indian internationals Milan Singh and Jerry Lalrinzuala (Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)

New faces are always a welcome sight for any team. Ever since Stephen Constantine took over as the Head Coach of the Indian National Team in February 2015, the British coach has handed debuts to 30 players with varying degrees of success.

As part of the development process, it is vital for young Indian players to come through the National Team setup and in order for that to happen there needs to be a systematic process.

For the Indian National Team currently gearing up for their International Friendly against Cambodia on March 22 and AFC Asian Cup Qualifier against Myanmar on March 28, the new faces coming through the ranks of the development process are Milan Singh, Jerry Lalrinzuala and Nishu Kumar.

The talking point stays that the trio are all products of the AIFF Youth Development Programme (YDP) and their call up to the senior team after the “hard work” is just the continuous process which makes every YDP a success. But to take the next step, the boys need to “work harder.”

“I had waited for my chance for long and now that the coach has selected me, I have to play to the best of my abilities and prove that I too can play on the international stage,” said Milan Singh in one breath.

“It is about time for me and I am raring to prove myself,” he added. “I have never shied away from hard work and come what may I will work hard to improve myself as a player.”

Jerry Lalrinzuala, barely 19 stated that “it is an honour to be here as part of the Indian ‘Senior’ National Team and I thank the coach (Stephen Constantine) for providing me with the opportunity.” Providing special emphasis on the word ‘Senior.’

“It took a lot of hard work to get here and now that I am here I have to work harder.”

However, Constantine makes it clear that National Team debutants are not there for the sake of it and the players have to prove themselves not only on the pitch, but also off the pitch.

“Discipline off the pitch is paramount as is performance on the pitch. The objective of a player is to catch the eye of the coach and that’s when he gets a call to the National Team,” the coach explains.

“The player then needs to work hard enough to make it to the final squad. His objective is to be in the starting eleven and the hardest part is to stay in the starting eleven,” he adds. “The boys have grown over the last couple of years and we will have a closer look at them over the next few days. They are on the right track provided they continue to work harder.”

(Report & Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)