Forgotten Stars of the U-17 World Cup

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4) Abhijit Sarkar

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Abhijit Sarkar, the 21-year-old attacking midfielder who started two games for India in the U-17 World Cup against USA and Columbia, almost became the first-ever scorer for India in the competition when they played against Columbia. Born on the 5th of January in Bandel, West Bengal, Abhijit has been part of various setups for India. After the World Cup, he started playing for Indian Arrows, like many others, to gain more experience and playing time. He had a decent spell at Indian Arrows in the 17/18 season, netting 5 goals in 15 appearances, scoring twice in a game against Churchill Brothers, after coming off the bench.

After the 17/18 season, he made a move to the Indian Super League (ISL), joining Chenniayin FC. But for some reason, he couldn’t settle into the team and was loaned back to Indian Arrows, where again he struggled to get a good run of games, and ended the season with only 6 appearances and scoring just one goal. In the 18/19 season, he was again loaned, this time to East Bengal FC, but could only manage to get around 193 minutes of playing time in total. He has found it difficult to get any momentum and still is in search of a club, where he could be a regular starter.

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3) Jitendra Singh

Forgotten Stars of the U-17 World Cup WhatsApp Image 2021 04 14 at 18.27.08 1 1

Jitendra Singh, born in Kolkata, West Bengal, was part of the India U-17 National team. Like his team-mate Abhijit Sarkar, he was brought into the National side from the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Elite Academy batch. The 19-year-old, who loved cricket almost equally, chose football as a career over cricket, does not regret doing so, and made it clear during an interview before the World Cup “I don’t regret choosing Football over cricket.” Jitendra like the others from the U-17 squad had a good start to life post the World Cup.

After the U-17 World Cup, he started playing for the Indian Arrows, making his debut and starting in the very first game of the season against Chenniyain FC. He had a good stint at Indian Arrows, making 32 appearances and scoring his only goal against Shillong Lajong FC, during his two seasons for the club.

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Having had two solid seasons with Indian Arrows, he decided to make a move to the Indian Super League (ISL), and signed for Jamshedpur FC in 2019, but only managed 17 appearances (around 611 minutes) for the ISL side over two seasons and has not been regular. Since the World Cup in 2017, he has been capped twice for the U-20 National Team, but has failed to impress, and has not been able to string together solid performances, as a result, has not received enough playing time anywhere he has played.

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