Mahesh Gawli replaces Shanmugam Venkatesh as India Colts head coach


Former India defender Mahesh Gawli has been named head coach of the men’s Under-20 team, the AIFF announced on Sunday. Gawli will replace Shanmugam Venkatesh who resigned after India failed to qualify for the AFC U-20 Asian Cup.

The decision was taken by the Indian Football Federation technical committee led by IM Vijayan here. “The committee has recommended that former Blue Tigers defender Mahesh Gawli take over as head coach of the India men’s U-20 national team,” the AIFF said.

Besides being in charge of the U-20 team, Gawli will continue to be Igor Stimac’s assistant in the senior team, he added. Venkatesh’s side failed to qualify in the U-20 Asian Cup qualifiers in Kuwait City after finishing third behind Australia and Iraq in their group.

Coming to the tournament winning the SAFF Championship, the U-20 side began their campaign, going down to five-time Asian champions Iraq 2-4. They suffered a 1-4 loss to Australia and secured a 2-1 victory against hosts Kuwait. The AIFF has also hired former India captains Oinam Bembem Devi and Harjinder Singh (senior) as head female and male scouts respectively.

The AIFF also recommended holding the Elite Youth League in December at multiple venues. “States that have already completed their youth leagues can nominate two teams, while others can nominate clubs from the ISL, I-League and other residential academies. “Players born between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2008 will be eligible for the league,” the AIFF said.

It was also decided to send the U-17 men’s national team on exhibition trips to higher ranked countries like Belgium, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in a bid to prepare them for the Asian Cup. AFC 2023 U-17s. The committee also selected Vivek Nagul, Hilal Rasool and Santosh Kashyap for the position of technical director.

The trio will be interviewed and the recommendation will be sent to the executive committee by November 15th. The meeting was attended by AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey, General Secretary Shaji Prabhakaran and Deputy General Secretary Sunando Dhar among others.


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