Three Indian U-19 Players to train with French Club FC Metz

20.04.2016 - AIFF PRESS RELEASE : In a major boost for Indian Football three U-19 National Team Players of the All India Federation Academy will be leaving Indian shores to train with French Club Side FC Metz. Anirudh Thapa, Prosenjit Chakraborty and Jerry Lalrinzuala, who have all been through AIFF’s Youth Development Programme since their U-14 days and are an integral part of the Indian U-19 National Team, have been selected for a stint with the U-19 Team of the French Club side which plays in the Ligue 2 of France.

The boys would be reviewed after every three months with the maximum stint staying a possible two years. The announcement came on Wednesday (April 20) at the French Embassy in the Capital where AIFF President Mr. Praful Patel along with the Ambassador of France to India Mr. Francois Richier, AIFF’s General Secretary Mr. Kushal Das and FC Metz Director Denis Scheaffer, presented the boys in front of the media.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Patel said: “FC Metz is one of the great Academies not only in France but in Europe and it is a dream of every aspiring Indian Player to rub shoulders with the best in the business. There are important baby steps in the right direction for the growth of Indian Football. The idea is to develop from a young stage.” “This is only a beginning and I am sure that there will be many more initiatives such as these. We want young talent to be promoted,” the AIFF President added.

“We thank FC Metz for this initiative and after the 3 months the kids will be reviewed. And I am sure that they will come out with flying colors in the review, and if they do, we will continue to support them.” “The review will be if they are the right material to pursue their journey in France and we will decide for them that how long they will have to continue this journey. It could be 3 months or even 2 years. What we want to develop is young talent by putting them into top arenas and using them later for the National Teams,” Mr. Patel quipped.

Sitting besides Mr. Patel, the French Ambassador Mr. Richier said: “I have always shown my support to the extra ordinary work that FC Metz are doing. The Club are welcoming and have trained dozens of youngsters.” “AIFF’s coordination with FC Metz will go even further. The French Government wants this to succeed and I want to see as many Indian professional Players in Europe,” the Ambassador maintained.

Meanwhile, AIFF General Secretary Mr. Kushal Das touted FC Metz as a “healthy and safe environment for the boys to develop.” “We wanted a place where the kids would develop as Players whilst being in a nurturing environment and FC Metz offers us that. The boys are from our Academy in Goa for 1998 born Players,” Mr. Das informed.

“The three boys will also receive a good education and will be tutored in French. I want to thank Mr. Eric Benny for this initiative and I hope that this works successfully,” “The three boys already have International experience and we hope to develop them into better Players. We want to give them an opportunity to train and see European,” Mr. Scheaffer, Director, FC Metz pronounced.

“I am very excited to see these boys on the pitch as our aim now is to give them an opportunity to reach the highest level possible. We will do our best to help them.” “I hope that the Players will have a wonderful experience and I am honoured to be a part of Indian development,” he admitted.

Over the years, FC Metz have produced the likes of Robert Pires, Frank Ribery and Louis Saha and according to the FC Metz Director it all depends on training at the highest levels. “It is important to train at the highest level and to improve you have to consistently train at the highest level every day. Our aim is to offer the boys that. The boys will train with our Players and we will review them for a professional contract.”

“This is not a trial,” he clarified. “This is the first time we are sponsoring our Academy boys and this initiative will expand as we want more and more youngsters like them to go out and train. This is a step in the direction to build Players who otherwise won’t have the means to go,” Mr. Patel opined. “This is not the first and last set of Players that will be going. We want more and more Players to go and train abroad in good circumstances. This initiative should be looked as letting our Players train with the best academies in the World.”

Thanking the French Ambassador, Mr. Patel said, “We have the support of the French Government and all these measures help you build confidence. I thank the French Ambassador for his continuous support and the MOU which we have with the French Football Federation and this initiative with FC Metz will help us go a long way.”


AIFF Academy cadets look forward to FC Metz stint

20.04.2016 - AIFF PRESS RELEASE : If even a month ago one would have told AIFF Academy cadets Anirudh Thapa, Prosenjit Chakraborty and Jerry Lalrinzualathat they would train at a Club which has produced the likes of Arsenal legend Robert Pires, Bayern Munich’s Frank Ribery, Manchester United forward Louis Saha, Roma’s current Midfielder Miralem Pjanic, Emmanuel Adebayor amongst others, they would have laughed on your face.

On April 20, 2016 the complexion on the face of the trio, upon acknowledging the gravity of the fact was more or less energetic and somewhat nervous. The trio graduating through the ranks of All India Football Federation’s Youth Development Programme whilst being part of the age-group National Teams, are being sent by the AIFF for training at French Club side FC Metz for nine months, starting this April.

They would be training with the U-21 Club side and the second Team and playing in a series of Friendly matches. The Club would be monitoring them closely and may extend the training stint for another season if any of the Players impress them.

Thapa, Chakraborty and Jerry were part of the Indian squad which had won the AFC U-16 SAFF Championship and finished runners-up in the SAFF U-19 Championship, both held in Nepal. They also played a key role in helping AIFF U-19 emerge victorious in the U-19 I-League and finished runners-up to TFA in the IFA Shield. They have also represented India in the U-16 AFC Qualifiers in Kuwait and the ACT U-16.

Talking exclusively to, the trio, all excited and gaga with brimming smiles, looked confident ahead of the French journey. "It is a huge experience for us and we will certainly evolve into better Players by training with one of the top sides in French Football,” said Thapa. “The experience will just be immense,” he nodded.

“We thank the AIFF and our Coaches for helping us along the way and all of this is possible only because of their efforts. They helped us evolve in better Players and are still backing us to get better.” You mention to the trio about the likes of Robert Pires coming from the FC Metz Academy and Thapa instantly quips: “It is a big motivation for us to be training on the same field as Robert Pires. At the same time it is a huge honour for all of us to be associated with a Club which had produced the likes of Pires, Louis Saha, Ribery, Pjanic, Adabeyor amongst others.”

“It’s hard to believe that we will be training at Metz. It will be an emotional journey for me as my some my Footballing icons are associated with FC Metz”, explained Prosenjit Chakraborty. “Our Coaches have played an integral role in our upbringing. I would like to thank Gautam-Sir (Gautam Ghosh), (Syed) Pasha-Sir and all the support staff for helping me develop,” Prosenjit maintained.

“Even Scott-Sir (AIFF’s Technical Director Scott O’Donell) helped us learn the nitty gritties of the game and that has taken us far in our Footballing careers so far,” Jerry, who had scored the winner for India in the U-16 SAFF Finals, quipped. “My family has already started praying for me for my successful stint in France. They have told me to keep focused on the task at hand and not lose concentration,” he informed.

With FC Metz playing in the second division of French Football the stakes for the trio are high. But they are not shying away from it. “We know that it will be a different ball game all together in France. But we are prepared for it,” Thapa assured. “The Coaches that we have worked with so far are some of the best in the business and we have confidence in our abilities that we will perform,” he added. “We have to,” he reiterated.

When you mention about the alien weather, the food the culture, the trio, in chorus answered back: “That’s Football. We are ready to fight. Thank you AIFF for putting us there. We will give our Best.”