Talent scouts create a buzz of anticipation at KIYG football too -

Talent scouts create a buzz of anticipation at KIYG football too

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Khel Today Bureau 

Panchkula: Who will lead the Indian attack after Sunil Chhetri hangs up his boots is a question that is exercising the minds of the Indian football community.

While Manvir Singh, Liston Colaco and Ishan Pandita are some of the immediate contenders in the short-term, senior talent scouts are keenly watching the football competition at the Khelo India Youth Games to not only spot the next Chhetri for the long-term but also players for other positions across the pitch.

Among the talent scouts are former head coach of the national women’s football team, Maymol Rocky, local legend Harjinder Singh and Goa’s Bruno Coutinho, once part of the fearsome attacking troika for the ‘blue tigers’, along with Bhaichung Bhutia and IM Vijayan.

Outlining the requirements for a good striker, Coutinho, former India captain and Salgaocar FC player, said on the sidelines of the KIYG boys’ semifinal: “he/she should have good skills, good vision, decision-making ability of when to shoot or pass, and be a good finisher capable of converting even 50-50 chances. Above all, he should have courage.”

Coutinho said his team has already spotted a few players at the KIYG who could make the cut in the future.

Weighing in on Chhetri’s potential successor, Coutinho opined that Manvir and Colaco are good players but they must be given time to mature. “They have improved in recent years since they have been getting game time at their clubs. If we want results, our strikers should be playing regularly in the ISL (Indian Super League),” he emphasized.

Asked to pick out his best goals, Coutinho cites the one he scored versus the Philippines (1993 World Cup qualifier in Qatar), his match winner against Maldives (1999 SAFF Gold Cup semis) and his sensational brace for Salgaocar in the 1997 Federation Cup final who shocked favourites East Bengal 2-1 at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata before a record crowd of 1,31,000.

The talent scouts will shortlist about 25 girls and boys each who will then attend an assessment camp to gauge their potential as future India prospects. Those who make the final list will be eligible for the Khelo India scholarships of Rs 10,000 per month, Rocky Maymol revealed.

Rocky expressed happiness that events like the KIYG and KIUG were giving young footballers a chance to compete, as she believes the more you play, the more you improve. This is a phenomenon which is being replicated across Indian women’s football in general, she noted.

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