By Samindra Kunti
May 21 – India’s U17 team defeated Italy’s U17 2-0 on Friday, but in reality the ‘Indian Colts’ beat a selection of lower league Italian players.
It was a new low for the AIFF, who in an official statement greatly misled or exaggerated the details of India’s opponents in Arrezo. “Historic win for Indian football as India U17 prove ‘two’ good for Italy U17s,” wrote the AIFF. “The win epitomizes the grit and determination of the Indian Colts who have been grinding together since February 2013 in Goa.”
In truth India were playing a Lega Pro side featuring players from the third and fourth tier of Italian football, with the nation’s top players taking part in the UEFA U17 European Championship. The Italian FA’s website made no mention of the game.
Italy’s regular U-17 squad features top talents like Moise Kean and Roberto Biancu of Juventus, Gabriele Bellodi of AC Milan and a host of players from Inter Milan. The Indian players faced a team with recruits from clubs like Modena, Cremonese and Padova.
The result caused a stir in India with social media going into a frenzy, but the Hindustan Times soon uncovered the AIFF’s self-designed ‘fake news’. The official websites of Lega Pro and Lega Pro clubs Parma and Albinoleff both carried match reports.
In October India will host the U17 World Cup, where it will be impossible for the AIFF to spread fake news. Earlier this year Nicolai Adam resigned as coach of the Indian Colts in controversial circumstances after complaints from the players over mistreatment. The team has gone on exposure trips in Europe to boost their development, but beating the real Italy is still a distant dream.
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