Chennaiyin FC signs three India U-19 internationals

ISL defending champion Chennayin FC has announced the signings of Rahim Ali, Abhijit Sarkar and Deepak Tangri on Wednesday.

File Photo: Abhijit Sarkar of Indian Arrows scoring a goal against Gokulam Kerala in the I-League match on January 12,2018.   -  S. Ramesh Kurup

Indian Super League holder Chennaiyin FC, on Wednesday, announced the signing of teenagers Rahim Ali (18), Abhijit Sarkar (18) and Deepak Tangri (19) on three-year deals. The trio will be loaned back to the All India Football Federation (AIFF)’s developmental outfit Indian Arrows for the upcoming 2018-19 I-League season.

All three are current India U-19 internationals with Abhijit and Rahim also representing the country in last year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup.

 “It is our constant endeavour at Chennaiyin FC to nurture young talent and provide them with the best platform to grow further. We are very proud to have as many as 13 players across all national teams of the country. The signing of Abhijit, Rahim and Deepak is yet another mark of our commitment towards youth development. We look forward to them joining us next year after another season with Indian Arrows where I am sure they will continue to develop under the guidance of AIFF and its coaches,” said Chennaiyin FC co-owner Mrs. Vita Dani.

Both Abhijit Sarkar and Rahim Ali are products of AIFF’s Elite Academy while Deepak Tangri got his early football education at Chandigarh Football Academy and then in the youth system of Mohun Bagan.

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Tangri signed for Indian Arrows last season and was a key figure for the developmental side in the I-League. Though a defender by trade, the Punjab teenager was mainly used as a defensive midfielder for Arrows due to his physical presence.

He has gone on to become a youth international for India, recently scoring in the 2-1 win over the Argentina U20s last month in the COTIF Cup in Spain.

Ali, a centre forward who hails from West Bengal, has also represented Mohun Bagan at youth level. He featured in all three of India’s matches at the 2017 U-17 FIFA World Cup and was a regular starter under Luis Norton de Matos for Indian Arrows in last season’s I-League.

Abhijit Sarkar, also from West Bengal, can operate both as an attacking midfielder and upfront. He played in the fixtures against USA and Colombia at the U-17 World Cup. He was Arrows’ highest scorer in the I-League, netting four goals.