By I-League Media

NEW DELHI: U-15 Youth League, an AIFF venture to promote the youngsters, is slated to be kicked off this Saturday while Mohammedan Sporting Club lock their horns with Mohun Bagan AC at Mohammedan Sporting ground.

Grassroots football is one of the prime aspects which are nurtured by All India Football Federation for quite a good time. This’ll be the first instance while two age group pan-India club tournaments are being run in India simultaneously. The U-18 I-League has already kicked off in major parts of India and now the U-15 Youth League is about to be kicked off, Indian football is indeed heading towards a bright future.

Akin to U-18 I-League, all Hero I-League and Second Division League clubs will compete in U-15 Youth League. Some eminent academies in the likes of Bhaichung Bhutia Football School and other clubs across the country will join the veterans in U-15 Youth League. Forty teams, who will be divided in six zones according to their geographical locations, have confirmed their participation in the tournament.

The groups are as follows: Kolkata-Jamshedpur, Guwahati-Shillong, Maharashtra, Goa, Delhi-Chandigarh and Rest of India. Two teams from each group would qualify to the next stage where they would be divided into two groups. Subsequently Top two teams will get the nod to semi-finals and eventual final will decide the maiden winner of U-15 Youth League.

Mr. Scott O’Donell, Technical Director, AIFF sounds optimistic and elated about the tournament’s prospect, “AIFF have taken really a firm step to launch this U-15 Youth League. Unless the youngsters are given serious exposure to competitive football, they won’t get ready for the bigger stage which will be tougher and steeper.” He rightly points out that the national scouts will have a worthy exposure to bucketful of players as well, “Indeed we’re looking forward towards 2017 U-17 FIFA World Cup. The spotters will have a significant opportunity to handpick raw talents ahead of the World Cup, which is less than two years from now.”