KOLKATA, August 8: Keeping the promises of extending their top-level facilities to the youngsters of the region and country, Bhubaneswar-based Indian Super League (ISL) club Odisha FC on Saturday called up Imphal boy Annaroy Soibam to join their youth squad.
Soibam captained Unique Model Academy, from his native place Imphal, to the sub-junior (U-14) boys title at Reliance Foundation Youth Sports (RFYS) National Championships last season. He also won the golden boot, scoring 11 goals in five matches, as well as the golden ball for being the best player of the tournament. Thereby the Manipuri colt impressed the scouts from Odisha FC present in Mumbai during the meet to identify young talents.
Describing Soibam’s potential as a footballer, Sandeep Alhan, head coach of Odisha FC U-18 team said, “He has a good attacking sense. We can use him in all attacking positions, as a winger on either side or as a forward. He has good shooting qualities and is a good finisher.” Now, Soibam will be directly under Alhan’s supervision.
“At the Odisha youth set up, we will provide all facilities and a professional pathway,” assured Alhan. “The recruits can train with us in all footballing aspects, like technical, tactical, psychological and physical activities. After this training they can aspire to reach a higher level such as joining our senior team and play for the country.”
“I am very excited to be a part of Odisha FC,” said Soibam. “It is a great opportunity for me at this stage of my career and I will try to do my best for the team.
“I was very happy to participate in a competition as professional as RFYS. It gave young players like me a chance to showcase my talent and play against the very best players from across the county. My school, Unique Model Academy, was crowned winners in the sub-junior category and in the process, I ended up winning the Golden Boot and Golden Ball Award. It gave me great pride and joy to be crowned the best player of the tournament,” said an elated Soibam.
“We are very pleased that Annaroy is getting the chance so early in his journey to be part of an excellent professional set-up such as Odisha FC,” an RFYS spokesperson said. “The objective of organising the tournament is exactly this, to provide a platform for kids across the country to display their talent and get noticed for higher honours. Annaroy was one of the standout performers at the national championships and we hope that in the upcoming years many more such talented players are discovered at the tournament, who can go on to enrich Indian football.” (TNN)