Shillong, Jun 3: Delivering on his early potential, Meghalaya’s Ricky John Shabong (seated fourth left) has been picked in an 18-member U-19 Indian squad that will take part in the Granatkin Memorial Tournament in Russia from Tuesday.

India will take on the hosts in St Petersburg tomorrow at 8:30PM India time. The other two teams in the same group are Moldova (who India will meet on 6th June at 2:30PM IST) and Bulgaria (who India will meet on 9th June at 2:30PM IST).

Last year Shabong caught the headlines as part of the Indian U-16 team that reached the quarterfinals of the Asian Football Confederation’s U-16 Championship in Malaysia. The midfielder was in the starting XI of each one of India’s four matches.

Altogether the teenager played well over 300 minutes for his country in the tournament and acquitted himself well.

Shabong has long been on the AIFF’s radar. In 2016 he was selected along with two other Meghalaya boys for a national U-14 camp and the following year he was picked in India’s U-15 SAFF Championship squad.

“We have travelled with an 18-member squad. Our primary target will be to give every member as much game time as possible,” head coach Floyd Pinto was quoted as saying on the All India Football Federation website today. “This is a fresh squad with a mix of the boys from Indian Arrows, boys from the U-16 team who had qualified to quarterfinals of AFC U-16 Championship and a new group of boys who have made it through the trials.”

India squad:

Goalkeepers: Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, Niraj Kumar

Defenders: Akash Mishra, Muhammed Rafi, Sumit Rathi, Shabas Ahammed, Jitendra Singh

Midfielders: Sanjeev Stalin, Jeakson Singh Thounaojam, Ninthoinganba Meetei Khumanthem, Givson Singh Moirangthem, Vikram Partap Singh, Ricky John Shabong, Lalchhanhima Sailo, Muhammed Basith Parathodi, Robin Yadav

Forwards: Harmanpreet Singh, Rohit Danu

(Photo: Facebook/Indian Football Team)

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