The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has named its development side Indian Arrows, going back to the old moniker it used for its previous youth team that was disbanded in 2013.
The AIFF mentioned the side as Indian Arrows in the I-League fixtures issued on Tuesday, after approval by the AIFF’s technical committee. The move was made along the lines of the Pailan Indian Arrows project which was disbanded four years ago.
The upcoming I-League will kick off with Minerva FC hosting Mohun Bagan in Ludhiana on November 25. Some of the focus will be on the side that will comprise the best talent from the team that competed in the FIFA U-17 World Cup and the Under-19 team.
The development side will have its home ground in New Delhi. The idea is to keep the boys together to make the cut for U-20 World Cup in 2019, for which India has submitted a bid application. The team’s home ground could be either Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium or Ambedkar Stadium.
Shillong Lajong FC will play host to new outfit Gokulam Kerala FC on November 27 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
While Mohun Bagan will be in action on the opening day at the Guru Nanak Stadium, their traditional rivals East Bengal will begin their campaign on Nov 28 against defending champions Aizawl FC.
The Arrows will play their first match against Chennai City FC and then take on Minerva Punjab FC, but the dates and venues for the development side’s matches have not been finalized yet owing to the players’ international commitments.
Meanwhile, former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia strongly backed the I-league, saying it “deserves” much better. “Both the leagues (I-League and ISL) should survive and do well but not by killing each other,” he wrote on his twitter handle.