FIFA U-17 : A milestone for NE football

Kamal Baruah *

Come October 6, India Under-17 team will rub shoulders with their contemporaries on the word stage after months of rigorous training and exposure trips abroad in Mexico, Chile, and Colombia under Portuguese coach Norton de Matos. It is the first time that India is hosting a FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) biennial event since first held in China in 1985.

Guwahati is one of the six venues with New Delhi, Navi Mumbai, Goa, Kochi, and Kolkata ready for the big event, where 24 teams of 6 groups from six confederations (AFC 4 Teams, CAF 4 Teams, CONCACAF 4 Teams, CONMEBOL 4 Teams, OFC 2 Teams, UEFA 5 Teams and Host country) participated.

Iran, Iraq, Japan and Korea are included from Asian Federation Confederation (AFC). India is placed under Group A with United States, Colombia and Ghana. The final will be played on 28 Oct at Kolkata while Guwahati has been chosen nine matches including six group matches, three round 16, one quarter final and a semi final.

Chile hosted the last U-17 world Cup in 2015 where Nigeria was defending champion. India returns to the finals of a FIFA competition after 57 years. It participated in four consecutive editions of the Olympic Football Tournament between 1948 and 1960. The best performance was lost to Yugoslavia in the Semi Final at 1956 Melbourne Olympic.

India named 21 members squad for FIFA U-17. Interestingly for India; Manipur is Manipur this time that eight represent from Manipur for the world event. Mizoram and Sikkim also have a representative each. Last year 80 players from North East have been rejected for selection by former coach Nicolai Adam due short criteria.

Nevertheless this selection gives us a reason to smile. NE players have proved that their physique is not a hindrance, they are most skilful footballer. It is an unprecedented achievement where success has not always followed the passion for football although most of them come from a humble background.

This year has been an incredible for North East football. A little known Aizawl FC scripted history by becoming the first NE club to win I-Leage title. Also Shillong Lajong FC placed fifth in I-League standing. 49 NE players amongst 156 players selected for cash-rich Indian Super League 2017-18 edition.

The Manipuri Duo Seityasen Singh and Reagan Singh of North East United FC are making waves in Indian football, after impressing in the ISL, now signed for Delhi Dynamos. 10 years old Chandan Boro is a playing captain at Bundesliga club TSG Hoffenheim, Bittburg, Germany.

The forgotten Naga doctor-footballer Talimeren Ao led the Indian football team in the 1948 London Olympic quarterfinal. Mizoram govt took initiative by sending 35 U-16 children to Germany for six years training through a tie up with Tata Trusts. North East has won a number of times in Santosh Trophy and Subroto Cup tournaments in the past.

The love for the game of football is present in abundance in this land. The move over Bengal and Goa is over. Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Mizoram are becoming India’s new football powerhouse. AIFF should realise that the heart and soul of Indian football is in the North East. With no big sponsors for NE players, the government has to create infrastructure as well as national centre for excellence with elite facilities for this hilly region.

For the mind of many other Indian, NE is just a about Tribal Rock n roll and wild scenic beauty but there is emerging football now. We have to raise the aspiration levels of our kids to aim for Man United or Bayern Munich.

FIFA would like to see India a footballing nation of the future and asks the government to spend on game’s development instead of an opening ceremony. At the same time lowly ranked 85 Qatar bought its way to hosting 2022 World cup. India at 107 ranking failed to reach even 54 participating teams to qualify the quadrennial event 2018 at Russia.

In India, cricket is the most watched sport but the rise of other sports like Badminton, Boxing and Athletics have delighted the countrymen that there is much more beyond Cricket. The stupendous success of shuttlers from PV Sindhu to Saina Nehwal on the global stage has brought world attention. Artistic gymnast Dipa Karmakar made history at the Rio Olympic. Olympic bronze medallist Vijender Singh turned professional with stupendous success. The journey of Mary Kom is remarkable.

PT Usha was one of the most iconic athletes of track and field. They have won from individual championships to world championships. But those success stories have not just come easily. The inspiring story of India’s rise in badminton world can be credited to Pulella Gopichand who has changed the face of the sport in our country. For him playing the national anthem at the podium is a big thing. There cannot be a bigger motivation than that.

A number of talented players will be in action including Mexico’s Jairo Torres and USA’s Josh Sergeant. All the European teams are very strong together with Spain, England while Mexico, USA and the South Americans are championship contender. Also African teams are unstoppable. Brazilian star Vinicius Junior is already picked up by Real Madrid.

So far seven of the 16 tournaments have been won by two indomitable Africans from Nigeria (5) and Ghana followed by Brazil winning three times. Those teams are very strong, no doubt, by World Cup of equality. Striker Aniket Jadhav and Manipuri Captin Amarjit Singh Kiyam have more than a billion plus people’s expectations.

There is great story around when Ninthoinganba Meitei kept a promise to his late father by being selected. The Under-17 World Cup is not a marquee event, but that will not dampen the enthusiasm. It is a truly historic occasion for India.

This world cup will be used as a platform for bigger things in the future. India has formally bid for the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup. The rise of FIFA U-17 will mark a milestone for North East football.

* Kamal Baruah this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on October 11, 2017.

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Lui-Ngai-Ni @Longmai (TML) #1 : Gallery
  • Death of Guerrilla General Charles Wingate
  • March Past @Republic Day #3 : Gallery
  • Mini-dam at Tuidimjang, Myanmar
  • Tips for facing Board exams
  • Children by the River :: Poem
  • Manipur House : Accommodation in Delhi
  • Mass Anti Drug Rally at Lilong
  • Saroi Khangba #1 : Gallery
  • NEROCA Vs Churchill Brothers #1: Gallery
  • Nationalist Democratic (NDPP) Manifesto
  • Journeying in Lenten season
  • Multidimensionality: Strength of sociology
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Your mandate for Naga solution: Imkong
  • Impositions on information
  • Centre to fund NE plans fully: DoNER
  • Manipur tops NE in forest conservation
  • Phases of Manipur Culture #1
  • Rengtokung, Rinchonwon :: eMing
  • Brajabashimayum Jugolchandra : Akademi
  • Meetei as General category is wrong
  • Fear :: Poem
  • Cong cracking the PS whip
  • Lodges complaint over threats of KPLF
  • Students embark on integration tour
  • District Sales Manager - Globizs Solutions
  • Keeping doors of the NPF wide open
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Thanga Landscape with Loktak : Gallery
  • Imphal Art Camp @Kangla #3 : Gallery
  • On the Question of Nation and Nationality
  • Cry of a Dying River - 18 : Poem
  • Simultaneous election ok, but EVM ?
  • First Balloon Pulmonary Valvotomy perform
  • Free medical health camp by Loktak PS
  • Tomorrow's Manipur
  • Cracking down on traffic violators
  • Hazarika's 'Strangers No More' released
  • Likkon Sanaba @ Lamshang : Gallery
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni : Flash Presentation
  • Shopping for Shivaratri #1 : Gallery
  • Yet it galloped :: Poem
  • Cheirao Ching Kaba & Double Ninth Fest
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni - Seed Sowing Festival
  • Understanding share market as career #2
  • Hope floats
  • Time for SIT to pull up socks
  • Framework shrouded in mystery: NNPGs
  • 2 NE earn 'special mentions' in Forbes list
  • SSS MANIFA @ Kakching : Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Leima Jagoi : Gallery
  • Shrinking wetland in Manipur
  • Parent cant be replaced by rose on 14 Feb
  • Lifetime award for Salesian Varsity VC
  • Something is terribly wrong: SC to CBI
  • Demand for regulatory over alternate media
  • Are our women safe?
  • Church in electoral politics ?
  • Priority remains unchanged- Shurhozelie
  • Landscape of Loktak Lake #2 : Gallery
  • Sentinel Cup Equestrian #3 : Gallery
  • You Are The Only One- 15 Lightgrey
  • Tribute paid to Guerrilla General- WW-II
  • Customer-centric services in medical
  • Checking noise pollution
  • Tackling the level of noise
  • Final Naga pact to be in Constitution
  • NEROCA FC Vs Aizawl FC #1 : Gallery
  • Khousabung observed 'Black Day' : Gallery
  • Pains :: Poem
  • Sainik Schools under foster care- ironic truth
  • Cattle urine: An alternative to chemical use
  • My lachrymose week at Govt hospital
  • Laiphadibigi Bor :: Funga Wari
  • Imphal Art Camp @Kangla #2 : Gallery
  • NEROCA FC Vs Gokulam #2 : Gallery
  • Turning sunset years into gold
  • T Gwite and his Thanlon Times
  • NPCC for Secular Front
  • Be a leader of the people, as chosen
  • February 27 : 'If elections are held...'
  • Cross border trade resumes in Manipur
  • MaiOn - Scenes #3 :: eRang
  • Rhizome Festival @Thoubal #2 : Gallery
  • Moirangthem Rajen: Akademi Awards 2014
  • MSAD Annual Report 2016-17 : Download
  • Saving Nambul: Need of the hour
  • Lifeless Words :: Poem
  • Ridiculous supposition of TR Zeliang
  • Illegal timber smuggling curbed
  • Act Jiribam policy also matters for Manipur
  • Banning Catholic schools
  • Folk Dance @ Republic Day #1 : Gallery
  • Day 1- Imphal Jamboree #2 : Gallery
  • Manipur Radio- Streaming Android App
  • A song of victory :: Poem
  • Redefining the lingo
  • Learn lessons from your past mistakes
  • Fire at Namphalong Market
  • Beware of middlemen
  • Increasingly polluting Nambul river
  • ACAUT accepts resignations of Chairman
  • Loree Kaju Luita Phanit #1 : Gallery
  • Royal Crematorium at Bangkok #3 : Gallery
  • 1994 batch seek help for Sir Sekaran: DBS
  • 13 Jobs at NIELIT Kolkata [Upd]
  • Biology is Chemistry
  • Recruitment of MIL (Tribal) teachers
  • Corruption at Pravabati College
  • Birth Heart Defect treated
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Back to the hot seat
  • Ambience for education
  • Aribam Chitreswar Sharma : A Profile
  • Sentinel Cup Equestrian #2 : Gallery
  • Election despair in Nagaland
  • Share market as career options
  • Sentinel Cup Equestrian Championship
  • DG Assam Rifles calls on Chief Minister
  • The danger seen in the N. Biren Govt
  • As Feb 27 approaches: High octane drama
  • Singcha Wuya Won @Kamjong #5: Gallery
  • NEROCA FC Vs Gokulam #1 : Gallery
  • Nongthombam Lakshman : Natyabhusan
  • Tableaux @ Republic Day #2 : Gallery
  • Alien at Home
  • Cry of a Dying River - 17 :: Poem
  • Leadership skills for 21st century
  • Task before new MPP president
  • Landscape of Loktak Lake #1 : Gallery
  • Sentinel Cup Equestrian #1 : Gallery
  • Dongkhojam Lunkim: Akademi Award 2014
  • Padmashree L Subadani felicitated
  • Cosmological evolution with baby cosmos
  • Russian wife scam - The perfect crime
  • My Fevered Dream :: Poem
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • CCNTHCO decides not to interfere in poll
  • SC recommends names of new CJs
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • Day 1- Imphal Jamboree #1 : Gallery
  • Heart Foundation financial assistance
  • The cry of a disgruntled citizen
  • Harassment of activists: Pravish's death
  • TSA condemns KPLF/KPLA's diktat
  • Appeal to join Reservation Kalhousi Rally
  • Educating the educators
  • Rejecting boycott call: Delivering a point
  • IISER: Impact of Establishment in Manipur
  • MSAP Sports Meet @ Pune : Gallery
  • March Past @Republic Day #2 : Gallery
  • Wetlands: Why we should care ?
  • World Wetlands Day: Decommission Ithai
  • MSAP Sports Meet & elections held
  • NPF to abide by principle of democracy
  • Chairman, SC/ST Orgs visit Manipur
  • Pollution pangs
  • Nagaland BJP in a fix : Catch-22 situation
  • Rongmeikai & Langbung: Manipuri Folktale
  • State Kala Akademi Award, 2014 : Gallery
  • Imphal Jamboree by Global Shapers
  • Architecture as a career
  • Towards positive change; let's win together
  • Training for NSS Program Officer concluded
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Cooperation rather than conflict
  • Imphal Evening: Promoting nightlife
  • Total lunar eclipse of January 31, 2018
  • February Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Women's Polo Tournament #4 : Gallery
  • The other half :: Poem
  • Towards a final Framework Agreement
  • Don't wanna miss the Misses
  • Job @Ascend Institute of Training
  • President of Natl Higher Education Body
  • Technology to the rescue
  • Heading towards Central rule : Nagaland
  • Indigenous Game of Wrestling: Gallery
  • List of MLA (Jan 2018) #2 : Gallery
  • Tableaux @ Republic Day #1 : Gallery
  • Joint Indo Myanmar Cleanliness Drive
  • CM's cash awards for toppers
  • Ichangi Laidhi #2 :: eRang
  • Gaan Ngai @ Ragailong #2 : Gallery
  • Reporting in Conflict Situation #2
  • Meetei Chanu 2017 #4 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Emoinu Khoiramba @Koubru #3: Gallery
  • Lafoi Shamda puthorkpa #2 : Gallery
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #3: Gallery
  • Time Table - Class XII Exam 2018
  • Time Table - Class XI Exam 2018
  • Maring: Kummui Chaa-um : Gallery
  • Time Table - HSLC Exam 2018
  • Front Page Photo #6: Gallery
  • Calendar for the Year 2018 :: e-pao Tools
  • Restricted Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Public Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • General Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #7 : Ooba
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic