Nine U-17 trainees of Chandigarh Football Academy signed up by Kerala Blasters

The ISL side had conducted trials earlier this month. (Express Photo by Sahil Walia)

In a major achievement by Chandigarh Football Academy, Sector 42, nine of its U-17 trainees were signed for a five-year contract by Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters. The football academy, which was formed in 2000 and is a brainchild of late Lt Gen JFR Jacob (Retd), former Chandigarh Administrator and Punjab governor, has been acting as a conveyor belt for Indian football teams, including junior teams.

The ISL side had conducted trials earlier this month. The CFHA trainees who have been selected are Pawan Kumar, Amanjot Singh, Nabeel, Beckham Singh, Lovepreet, Govind Das, Napolean, Shabby Khan and Shiv Chaudhary. While Chaudhary is a goal-keeper, Beckham Singh, Nabeel, Lovepreet and Govind are mid-fielders. Pawan Kumar and Amanjot Singh are defenders and Shabby Khan and Napolean are forwards.

It is a great achievement for the CFA team and we are happy that the junior players are getting the opportunity for a team like Kerala Blasters in ISL. I am currently in Delhi and I am sure the players would be very happy about the development, said Gurpreet Singh Bedi, football coach at Chandigarh Football Academy.

The academy has produced the likes of Indian defender Sandesh Jhingan in the past and four of its former trainees played for the Indian U-17 team in the FIFA U-17 World Cup played in India. The captain of the team Amarjeet Singh Kiyam, goal-keeper Prabhsukan Singh Gill, Sanjeev Stalin and Jeakson Singh, India s only goal scorer in the FIFA U-17 World Cup, are the products of the academy. Running parallel with the Chandigarh Hockey Academy of Chandigarh administration, the academy inducts football trainees at a young age and the trainees are given football training with hostel accommodation. The players are trained by Harjinder Singh, former Indian footballer and coach and Bedi.