New Delhi, Jul 10 (UNI) For the first time in the history of Indian football, a national youth team will get corporate funding support as Bharti Enterprises, one of India's leading business conglomerates today announced that it has signed an agreement with the AIFF to support the development of the U-16 football team in the country.
The association highlights the continued commitment of AIFF and Bharti to promote a powerful football and sporting culture in the country.
The agreement to support the U-16 team is for a period of one year and will help the team prepare for the Asian Football Championship to be held in Uzbekistan in October.
Commenting on the agreement, AIFF president Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said, ''The current U-16 team is a promising lot and has performed exceptionally well at the international level.'' ''With the right support and exposure they can compete at the highest level and make the country proud. We are very happy with the support from Bharti and this will provide a lot of encouragement to the team,'' Dasmunsi added.
The Indian U-16 team is currently in West Virginia, US where it is playing practice matches and will also travel to Europe in the coming months.
It has already qualified for the Asian Football Championship by defeating established Asian football giants such as Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.
If the team reaches the semi finals of Asian Football Championship, they will automatically qualify for the under-17 World Cup 2009.
Bharti Enterprises Chairman and Group CEO, Sunil Bharti Mittal said, ''India's strength today is its vast pool of youth population.
''Developing a strong youth program is one of the top priorities of our partnership with AIFF to create a powerful football culture in India. We hope that this team's achievements at the international level will be a major catalyst in further promoting football amongst the youth of India,'' Mital added.
Bharti already has an MoU with AIFF to build a comprehensive National Football Development Program (NFDP) and work together for the development of Indian football.
India U-16 team: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Raegan Albarnas, Ashish Chetri, Vishal Kumar Ravindra Kumar, Akshay Vimal Kumar Mall, Harpreet Bedi, Shallum Pires, Jayanta Paul, Ashfaq Ali, Deepak Devrani, Ravi Kumar, Sumit Rawat, Taranjit Kumar, Tanmoy Ghosh, Bikramjit Singh, Biru Yadav, Milan Singh O, R Lalrindika, Subhojit Majumdar, Tirthankar Sarkar, Abhishek Das, Malsawmfela, Manandeep, Prem Kumar.
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