The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Wednesday appointed Portugal's Luis Norton de Matos as the head coach of the India U-17 national football team, with the FIFA U-17 World Cup set to be held in India later this year. A former manager of the Benfica reserves side, De Matos' appointment comes a few weeks after his predecessor Nicolai Adam was forced to resign by the governing body following allegations of physical abuse by players of the team. Adam is expected to take charge of the team from later this week.
De Matos had earlier met the AIFF Advisory Committee comprising former India captains Bhaichung Bhutia and IM Vijayan apart from Sports Authority of India (SAI) DG Injeti Srinivas for a round of interviews.
He also met AIFF president Praful Patel in Mumbai on Tuesday for a final round before the parent body zeroed in on him. He has had five appearances for the Portugal national side.
Welcoming De Matos, Patel said: "It's nice to have De Matos on board. His experience of handling youth teams will come in handy for the U-17 boys as we wish to leave no stone unturned to field a competitive team in the U-17 World Cup. I expect him to guide our boys to put up a strong performance in the World Cup."
The 63-year-old coach thanked AIFF for making him a "part of the project".
"My role will be to orchestrate everything wherein the players will be playing their part," he told the AIFF Committee.
"I admire AIFF's vision and the U-17 World Cup will act as a base for development of Football in India. The players need to believe in themselves to do something special for the Country," he stated.
"I do have an Indian connection as my great grandfather was born in Goa," he informed.
"I will retain the positives of the last two years as we move forward," he maintained.
(With inputs from PTI)