Bhaichung Bhutia Wants IFA Shield to be U-17 Tournament in 2017

Updated: 02 February 2016 21:03 IST

Bhaichung Bhutia has suggested that the IFA Shield should hold a tournament for U-17 players keeping in mind the FIFA World Cup next year.

Bhaichung Bhutia Wants IFA Shield to be U-17 Tournament in 2017
Bhaichung Bhutia has also stated that he wants the IFA Shield tournament to have a more international feel. © PTI

Indian football icon Bhaichung Bhutia, who is also an advisor to the AIFF, suggested that IFA Shield should also hold a tournament for the U-17 keeping in mind of the FIFA World Cup next year. (Crystal Palace U-19's Team to Feature in IFA Shield)

"I would request them to have just one year for U-17 age group as they will play the World Cup next year. It would be really nice if LG could come with a bigger package for just one year in 2017. If possible make it an international tournament," Bhutia said unveiling the LG IFA Shield U-19 tournament here.

"If possible we can invite teams from the nations who have qualified from Europe and South Africa to make it International... when it comes to age group tournament, we don't have any International tournament. This is a big opportunity for us I feel.

The premier IFA Shield tournament which will run into its 120th edition this year has been converted into an u-19 meet last year after its popularity took a hit struggling to find a window in the hectic AIFF calendar.

"With I-League, Federation Cup and Kolkata League, it's getting difficult to have so many clashes in a season for popular clubs like Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. I am very happy that IFA has made it an U-19 tournament from last year," Bhutia said.

Lauding the efforts of the Indian Football Association, the AIFF advisor said they should mull changing their name as a lot of their work goes unnoticed.

"I don't know whether it's right or wrong but maybe the IFA can think of changing it into the 'Bengal Football Association'... The credit of lot of work done by IFA is actually given to the Indian football body (AIFF)".

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