The AIFF has again looking to invest their resources in youngsters, with the aim of strengthening the National Team in the future.

Alongside FIFA, the All-India Football Federation are looking to improve football at grassroots level according to Technical Director Rob Baan.

“In close cooperation with FIFA we will be able to open ten academies, most of which will be equipped with an artificial pitch. We will be implementing a grassroots project and a new programme to train coaches. We are currently in the talent identification
and selection phase.”

“Five additional academies, including an elite academy, will open in 2013. These schools will allow us to cover all the age groups that are eligible to qualify for AFC competitions and FIFA World Cups.”

“U-16 national sides have qualified twice, in 2007 and 2011, for the AFC Asian Cup finals. They fielded their own team, the Indian Arrows, in the country’s professional league. The first team, made up of lads aged 18 to 21, finished ninth out of 14 in the
professional league, and five of them have made their debuts for the national team.”