Former India striker Abhishek Yadav has been appointed as the first Deputy General Secretary of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), as the sports body has decided to create a new post in its hierarchy. This is one of the rare instances when a former Indian team player has been appointed to a higher position in the National Federation of Sports.
The 40-year-old former international player, who has played alongside Bhaichung Bhutia, Sunil Chhetri, Mahesh Gawli and Climax Lawrence, has been working as the director of the national team since January 2018.
AIFF President Praful Patel said, “Abhishek has done a commendable job so far and I have personally seen him grow in stature as an administrator.”
Yadav, who is respected among his contemporaries and also serves as the captain of the Indian team, has been associated with the AIFF in various capacities for some time, working closely with General Secretary Kushal Das.
“AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das has given me valuable instructions for the entire time while joining AIFF set-up. I should thank him for helping me play and the administration is completely different, ”Yadav said.
“I have to thank the President for supporting me in various football development initiatives after getting the opportunity to work for the betterment of Indian football,” he said.
Yadav took the initiative to start the AIFF scouting program in India and abroad, before playing the role of director of India’s foreign teams.
Giving Yadav an important administrative role is an award for his “impressive work” with national teams.
The federation believes that a well-known former player with football ecosystem knowledge can benefit the federation.
Das received much acclaim for Yadav’s work with the AIFF and supported him for his outstanding performance in his new role.
Abhishek has been with the AIFF during our scouting program and working with national teams.
“He has moved quickly in the system with his hard work and we feel that he is suited to such a role and has all the tools to succeed,” Das told PTI.
According to the federation’s top bosses, Yadav had a “commendable” work at home for the 2017 FIFA World Cup with the Indian Arrows and the Under-17 national team, the developmental side of the AIFF.
He developed the international scouting project of AIFF in collaboration with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in providing opportunities for passport holders of India, who were located overseas.
Yadav was also the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of India’s Under-17 World Cup squad.
He was also instrumental in formulating a plan for the revival of Indian Arrow, which included picking the best talents from India’s Under-16 and Under-17 teams.
Yadav has had a long and successful career in Indian football, preferring Mahindra United, Churchill Brothers and Mumbai FC.
Notably, he scored the decisive goal in India’s LG Cup victory in 2002, which came off the bench to net the winner for the first time in the final against Vietnam.
Nearly two decades ago, that strike helped India win its first major trophy on foreign soil after a long 28-year run. He was also part of the Indian team participating in the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar. PTI AH AH AT
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