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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. The upcoming I-League will kick off with Minerva FC hosting Mohun Bagan in Ludhiana on November 25.
A bit of 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 move, which was approved by AIFF’s technical committee, is on the lines of the Pailan Indian Arrows project which was disbanded four years ago.
The team’s home ground could be either Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium or Ambedkar Stadium. Shillong Lajong FC will play host to new outfit Gokulam Ketala 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.
Indian Arrows will play their first match against Chennai City FC and then take on Minerva Punjab FC, but the dates and and venues for the development side’s matches have not been finalised yet owing to the players’ international commitments.
Several matches of the I-League, including the Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal derby on December 3 at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata will start at 2pm. Some of the matches will be played at 12 noon.
The move to start matches at 2pm has attracted criticism from former players. Former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia strongly backed the I-League, saying it “deserves” much better.
“Both league (I-League and ISL) should survive and do well but not by killing each other,” he wrote on his twitter handle.