Four Pune FC Under-15 players have been called up by the Western India Football Association (WIFA) to represent Maharashtra XI in an exhibition game against AIFF XI at the Cooperage Ground in Mumbai on Monday.
Midfielders Cladeo Nongpluh, Aryan Irani and Sachin Karnan along with goalkeeper Muhammed Shahad have been called up by the state body after impressive performances for leaders Pune FC in the on-going Under-15 Youth League.
This one-off game has been planned by India Under-17 Coach Nicolai Adam to further explore talent for the National Under-17 team ahead of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup to be held in India in 2017. While this is the first game to played between a state and a national side, similar games against other state teams will follow.
Interestingly, the AIFF XI team not only consists a few ex-Pune FC players, but also has current Pune FC U15 skipper and defender Hendry Antonay in their ranks. Hendry has been training with the national team for three weeks now and was even part of the exposure trip to the middle-east.
With five Pune FC players involved in this exhibition game, it gives a big boost to the Under-15 squad going into the last few games in the zonal phase of the U15 Youth League.