Shillong, Nov 19: Three Meghalaya boys – (from left) Lionel Daryl Rymmei, Emboklang Nongkhlaw and Halen Nongtdu – will take part in the long delayed India U-16 boys’ training camp to be held in preparation for next year’s Asian Football Confederation U-16 Championship.

The camp, which was supposed to be held in July but postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will take place in Goa. The players will all arrive in the state tomorrow but outdoor training activities will begin only on 30th November, the All India Football Federation said on its website today.

Nongtdu, a defender and one of the oldest of the 30 boys summoned for the camp, has previously played for the U-15 India team.

Late last year Nongkhlaw had been called for a trial by India U-16 coach Bibiano Fernandes after the latter spotted the midfielder while on a visit to Mizoram where Nongkhlaw was playing for Tata Trusts’ flagship Centre of Excellence for Football in the state’s U-15 league.

Rymmei, meanwhile, is a goalkeeper who had been picked in the Indian U-15 squad that took part in a tour of Italy last year. He had been a member of Kick Start Football Coaching Centre here before moving to Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools in Punjab.

As part of the Covid-19 protocols, every member of the team must get an RT-PCR test done and receive a negative report before they travel for the camp. Additionally, a rapid antigen test will be conducted upon arrival in Goa, and only upon attaining a negative result will the respective player be allowed to go into the initial quarantine phase in the camp.

After serving a week in quarantine, another RT-PCR test is to be conducted on the team members, and only upon attaining a negative result will they be cleared to begin outdoor training.

The Asian Championship will be held in Bahrain sometime in early 2021. It was originally supposed to be held in September-October 2020 but was postponed due to the virus to November-December. However, on 10th September the Asian Football Confederation pushed the dates back again to 2021. India, who will be making their ninth appearance, have been drawn in Group C with Australia, South Korea and Uzbekistan.

“The U-16 boys have been out of training for a few months and, of course, they need to prepare for the AFC U-16 Championship, which we consider to be very important because it is a stepping stone to the FIFA U-17 World Cup. So, it’s very important that they get back to training,” said AIFF Director of National Teams Abhishek Yadav.

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