India squad for FIFA U-17 World Cup: Where are the Boys in Blue coming from

Akshay Ramesh

21 boys are in line to create history as they have been chosen to be part of the Indian squad, which will represent the country in its first-ever FIFA World Cup tournament - the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, which will be played between October 6 and 28.

Head coach of India Colts, Luis Norton de Matos, announced the 21-member squad for the global spectacle on Thursday, September 21, which will take on the USA in their opening Group A encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. India will also face Colombia and Ghana in the group stage.

Most of the members of the squad were assembled by former coach Nicolai Adam, who stepped down in January 2017. Norton has also helped in adding a few more talents to the squad.

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India's campaign at the showpiece event will be led by Manipur midfielder Amarjit Singh Kiyam, who was chosen as captain by team members following a poll conducted earlier this month during the final days of preparation for the global showpiece event.

Not just the captain, Manipur also has eight other players in the squad. Meanwhile, Punjab and West Bengal have three representatives each. Goalkeeper Sunny Dhaliwal, a Canada-based NRI, is also from Punjab.

On the other hand, powerhouse of Indian football, Kerala, has only one representative in midfielder Rahul Kannoly Praveen. While Sikkim also has one representative, Maharashtra and Karnataka have two each.

State No of players
Manipur 9
Punjab 3
West Bengal 3
Maharashtra 2
Karnataka 2
Kerala 1
Sikkim 1

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Check out the complete squad (states mentioned inside parenthesis)

GOALKEEPERS: Dheeraj Singh (Manipur), Prabhsukhan Gill (Punjab), Sunny Dhaliwal (Punjab - NRI from Canada)

DEFENDERS: Boris Singh (Manipur), Jitendra Singh (West Bengal), Anwar Ali (Punjab), Sanjeev Stalin (Karnataka), Hendry Antonay (Karnataka), Namit Deshpande (Mahrashtra - NRI from USA)

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MIDFIELDERS: Suresh Singh (Manipur), Ninthoinganba Meetei (Manipur), Amarjit Singh Kiyam (Manipur), Abhijit Sarkar (West Bengal), Komal Thatal (Sikkim), Lalengmawia (Manipur), Jeakson Singh (Manipur), Nongdamba Naorem (Manipur), Rahul Kannoly Praveen (Kerala), Md. Shahjahan (Manipur)

FORWARDS: Rahim Ali (West Bengal), Aniket Jadhav (Maharashtra)

HEAD COACH: Luis Norton de Matos (Portugal)

Coach Norton hopes for the best

India U17 coach Luis Norton

After having rigorous training programmes and exposure tours, which included a four-nation tournament in Mexico, Norton believes his team can show India's football potential to the world.

"We have worked hard and made progress, but at the same time we go directly to a high level competition against some of the best teams in the world," Norton said in a statement.

He added: "We will fight to win each match even if there is only five per cent chance of winning. We will not give up and nothing is impossible in football.

"We plan to show the world that we are on the same page as them."

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