The Indian Arrows – A Dream Project of Bob Houghton

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In our recent episode of DIL SE FOOTBALL, we were fortunate enough to have Mr. Renedy Singh and Mr. Arunava Chaudhuri speak on various aspects of Indian Football. This episode was our 6th one of the series which happens every Saturday on our youtube channel Techtro – IFTWC.

Renedy Singh has been a vital cog in the Indian football circuit. He started his career as a football player playing as a midfielder. His successful career consists of more than 300 appearances for both the clubs and the country. He even captained the national team during his time. A retired person now, Renedy is still active in Indian football. He now acts as a football pundit and has his own football academy in Manipur running successfully.

During the live session, we got a chance to interact with him and ask about an important project in Indian football which is the Indian Arrows.

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The project was the brainchild of former Indian National Team coach Mr. Bob Houghton. The project started in 2010 after the coach realized that many young Indian players (the u-19’s and the u-23’s) were not getting game time in their respective clubs and were simply sitting on the bench. Thus the coach along with the AIFF started the project where the objective was to field and all Indian XI team consisting of youngsters in order to provide them ample amount of playing time.

The team initially started as AIFF XI but later changed its name to Pailan Arrows in 2011 due to sponsorship. In 2013 the project got disbanded since the sponsor could not support the team financially. However, after the success of the 2017 u-17 world cup in India, the AIFF revived the project as Indian Arrows. The main aim of the project was to give playing time to u-17 world cup players.

Renedy’s Viewpoint on Indian Arrows

We asked Renedy about his thoughts on the dream project. We even asked him whether we are keeping up with the vision of Bob Houghton which he had when he started the project, or is there anything that has been changed. Is the project giving us good results?

Here is an excerpt from the session on what Renedy had to say:

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“I think if you look at the young players who are bought by big clubs like Mohun Bagan not many of them are getting chances after they come out from the academies. Those players obviously need game time to improve. In the leagues, if you see the most important positions on the field are occupied by foreigners. So in that way, we won’t get many good players who can replace players like Sunil Chhetri.”

“So to get that game time they have started this project and they are still continuing with it. The coaches and playing style have changed over time. But, the whole idea is to give the youngsters a chance so that they can improve and get better. I know it’s a great struggle for AIFF as well to take the cost but I think they are doing a great job. This is the thing they should continue. But more than that for me they should not only concentrate on those 20-25 players. In every state, every district we should concentrate on that” he concluded.

The Arrows project has been a revelation in Indian football. In recent times, it has provided game time to many budding players. This has helped in increasing the talent pool for the selection of the national team. We hope that this project continues to be an important part of Indian football circuit. This would provide more and more budding talents in the future.

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