The young U-17 side which represented India in its first world cup game were given the opportunity to test their skills and gain experience by playing the I-League.
This promising side were given very little chances of performing in the league as they had a lack of experience and power.
However, they have played above their expectations as they have got four positive results out of ten which is a commendable effort.
After a winless U-17 world cup campaign their wish was to play another world cup and they could only do that if they start earning experience and play with high profile teams. Therefore, the AIFF board made a team of U-17 squad mixed with some players of the U-19 squad known as the Indian Arrows which was to be managed by the present Indian U-17 manager,Luis Norton de Matos. Komal Thatal was left out of the squad as he did not want to be part of this plan.
The team started its I-League campaign with a thumping 3-0 victory over Chennai City FC which was a great result for the team. Matos’s side then went on to lose three games back to back against Minerva Punjab(twice) and Gokulam Kerala. The team wanted to bounce back with a win and they got what they wanted as they did bounce back with a 3-0 win over Shillong Lajong. This boosted their confidence and they managed to hold the mighty Mohun Bagan to a stalemate in Salt Lake Stadium,Kolkata.
Everything was looking good for Indian Arrows till Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem’s departure from the squad as his contract ended on December 31st and he denied to sign a three year new contract with the club because he got attention from European clubs with the likes of Motherwell FC and Charlton Athletic interested in him and would look for a trial in Europe. It was not taken well by de Matos as he said that he was leaving the club without a good string of games under his belt. However, Dheeraj joined Kerala Blasters in January and would practice with the squad till he gets his visa. Indian Arrows have signed Lara Sharma as his replacement though Gill is expected to start the remaining games.
Prabsukhan Gill, the second choice goalkeeper of the squad got the chance to showcase his talent. However, Gill did not manage to impress in his debut for the side as he conceded a bad goal against East Bengal due to his improper positioning and later they lost the game 0-2 with that goal proving to be an important one. Arrows continued to lose two games against Neroca FC 1-2 and Shillong Lajong 0-1.
Today, they were able to take the revenge against Gokulam Kerala as they defeated them with a one goal margin where Abhijit Sarkar scored the goal after managing to connect Rahul Kannoly’s beautiful cross. Abhijit later missed a golden opportunity where he got a big chance to net another goal. He was substituted afterwards as he fell sick. Prabsukhan Gill was one of the heroes of the match as the goalkeeper managed to make some big saves which earned him the clean sheet.
The players to watch out for:-
1)Boris Singh Thangjam
You can check all the updates on I-League here.