Deshpande first joined the Indian team in May during their exposure trip in Italy
As India is gearing up to host FIFA U17 World Cup next month, India U17 team is all set for the country’s debut in a FIFA world championship.
Indian American Namit Deshpande is representing India as part of All Football Federation’s initiative Overseas Scouting Portal (OSP) that ensured Non-Resident Indians also had a chance to play for the India U17 team, goal.com reported.
AIFF, led by Abhishek Yadav, launched the initiative in partnership with Sports Authority of India (SAI).
The central defender, who hails from Dadar, Mumbai, moved to New Jersey along with the parents when he was nearly two years old. He holds a valid Indian passport that helped him to apply for the OSP program.
In December 2016, Deshpande traveled to Brazil to meet the former Coach Nicolai Adam as he called him after seeing the CV. Adam was impressed by Deshpande and wanted him to join the team later in 2017, but the coach was not ready to wait till the 17-year-old’s classes and exams are over.
After Adam was shown door following physical and verbal abuse allegation by his players, Portuguese coach Luis de Matos took charge. Matos was in search for a sturdy central defender and Abhishek Yadav’s managed to convince Namit’s architect-parents as he arranged a four-day trial in Goa.
“Namit’s father had genuine concerns regarding the state of his academics. But we did not want the trail to go cold and had kept in touch with him,” goal.com quoted Abhishek Yadav, who is also the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the India U17 team. That turned out to be key as when another opportunity came knocking and we invited him for a trial, Namit’s father did not have any doubts as to how genuine we were. Everything fell in place as we went the extra mile to convince his father.”
Deshpande first joined the Indian team in May during their exposure trip in Italy. He may play against the United States on October 6 as part of the U17 team, which will be a rare instance in Indian sport.