Defending Indian Super League champions Chennaiyin FC have completed the signing of five AIFF Elite Academy graduates – Anirudh Thapa, Prosenjit Chakraborty, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Baoringdao Bodo and Bedashwor Singh – for the club’s youth set-up and join them on a long-term deal.
The boys were scouted by the AIFF in 2012 and were part of the triumphant India U-16 side at the 2013 SAFF Championship in Nepal.
They also featured in the 2014 Under-16 Asian Cup Qualifiers in Kuwait in 2013 and many other international exposure tours which were all organised by the AIFF.
The quintet also played an important role in AIFF Elite Academy retaining the U-19 I-League title earlier this year and also finished runners-up in the IFA Shield.
The boys are currently having a training stint at French club FC Metz with Chennaiyin FC paying for all the expenses.
Chennaiyin FC co-owner Vita Dani said, “We at Chennaiyin FC are committed to develop the very best young football talent of India and hence we are delighted to sign these five very talented boys from the AIFF Elite Academy. We look forward to grooming them both on and off the field and help them develop into top professionals.”
AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das stated, “Very often many a talent is lost in the transition phase. In an effort to arrest the slump, we were looking out for a club who has a vision of stressing on nurturing youth players. Hence, we are pleased to help the boys move to Chennaiyin FC’s youth set-up.”
“I would like to congratulate Chennaiyin FC for taking this visionary step for youth and player development and I hope other clubs follow suit. Many of our previous academy graduates have had substantial playing time in the Hero I-League and Hero ISL and we look forward to the five boys to make a mark in their club and earn laurels for the country.”
Chennaiyin FC CEO Rahul Patil added, “As a football club we have a big responsibility towards youth development and thus we are thankful to AIFF for accepting our long-term vision for these five boys. We will do everything to ensure they develop into top players for club and country.”