Looking to a bright future
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As Surinder Singh, coach of St Stephen's Football Academy, gets ready to embark on another national assignment, he looked composed and nervous at the same time. Composed because he has got the opportunity to go to Kalyani as a national team selector to scout talents in the Under-12, Under-13 age categories during the AIFF Under-12/13 football festival that gets underway from November 18 till 24 at the Kolkata city. And he is nervous because the assignment demands him to be very vigilant and impartial in selecting the best players among those hundreds of hopefuls displaying their skills on the field.
"That is how a selector feels before an important assignment. Keeping myself mentally fit, focussed and taking every player into consideration is what I am looking to do in the next one week," he informed.
He does that everytime the All India Football Federation (AIFF) tells him to.
But this time Surinder and Co will need to put in a lot more concentration and show plenty of energy while looking at players with the best pair of feet from the periphery. Also they have to keep in mind to sift the overage players. Reason: five years from now, in the year 2017, if the team qualify, or even better if FIFA agrees to let India host the Under-17 World Cup, the same players who get the nod from Surinder and the other selectors will take part in the mega event.
So the moment is enormous and the task more than handful for the coach.
But Surinder is ready for the assignment and believes the past experience of acting as national selector for the national Under-12, -14 and -16 age groups will definitely come handy.
"This is for the first time that we have formed separate U-12 and U-13 age groups. It is a great opportunity for me and I am ready for the challenge. I had accompanied the Indian Under-14 team as the head coach for the AIFF football festival at Iran and acted as the national selector for the junior teams as well," crackled the coach.
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