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Classic FA head coach hails new AIFF U-17 youth league format

22 May, 2024 16:35 IST|Sakshi Post

New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) The AIFF U-17 Youth League 2023-24 is at its business end, and the defending champions Classic Football Academy are once again in the semifinals of the tournament.

While their focus remains on doing well in this age-group competition, they also have the wider aim of providing their players with a pathway to the junior national teams, from where they could potentially go even further.

Classic FA U-17 head coach Chandan Chitrasen Singh believes that the new format of the AIFF U-17 Youth League, which was implemented in 2023, has been instrumental in the improvement that his players have seen.

"We won this tournament last year, and then eight of our players were called up to the India U-16 team that played in the SAFF championship,” Chandan told the-aiff.com. "AIFF should keep organizing tournaments such as these across the age groups since we get to play so many matches."

After Classic FA’s U-17 Youth League victory last year in Hyderabad, as many as eight of their players made it to the India U-16 side that won the SAFF U-16 Championship title in Bhutan – Mohammad Arbash (MVP and highest scorer), Rishi Singh Ningthoukhongjam, Aheibam Suraj Singh (best goalkeeper of the tournament), Yaipharemba Chingkham, Bharat Lairenjam, Vumlenlal Hangshing, and Namgouhou Mate.

Classic FA have made it to the semifinals of the AIFF U-17 Youth League, where they will face Football 4 Change Academy at the Nagoa Panchayat Ground, in Goa, on Thursday.

"The quality of football in Manipur is quite high, so the matches that we played in the Group Stage (TYDA Football Academy, TRAU FC, NEROCA FC) were of equal quality to what we have faced in the final Rounds," said Chandan.

"I think the same goes for all teams that played their Group Stage matches in the northeast, but that really helps the players learn and grow during the season as well. That is why they look very well prepared once we reach the final round.

"Of course, the quarter-final (they won 1-0 against Punjab FC) was tough, and we expect the semi-finals and final to be of an even higher quality, but after playing so many tough matches, our boys are prepared," he said.

Classic FA have played 12 matches so far, till the quarterfinals, and should things go their way for a second season in a row, they will end up with 14 matches under their belt this season.

The Classic head coach believes that playing the Group Stage matches from Imphal inadvertently gives his side an edge.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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