Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Amity United will take on Varanasi Football Academy in the inaugural match of the three-day North zone qualifiers of the Manchester United Premier Cup (under-15) football tournament at the Air Force ground, Race Course, here on Wednesday.

Later in the day, Ambedkar Stadium will be the venue of the formal inauguration, followed by a match between St. Stephen’s Football Academy and Shimla Youngs.

At the launch of the event, Bhaichung Bhutia said, “The Union Government should concentrate more on providing infrastructure. Unfortunately, there is not even basic infrastructure available outside the metros.”

In its fourth year, the MUPC has attracted over 50 Indian teams to the qualifying stage to be held at two other centres. Gangtok will host the East Zone qualifiers from November 18 to 20. Two venues at Fatorda (Goa) will hold the West and South Zone qualifiers from 26-28 November.

The participating teams include Mohun Bagan, Mahindra United, JCT, Pune FC, Viva Kerala, Salgaocar, Sporting Club, Sikkim Football Academy, Silchar Football Academy, Mumbai Sports School Association, Pondicherry Coaching Centre and Uttranchal.

The India final will be played from December 1 to 3 at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda.

According to Nike India’s Sanjay Gangopadhyay, “This year, Nike has ensured a direct entry to the India champions to play the global finals doing away with the regional finals.”

In all, around nine lakh under-15 players from 9,000 teams from over 40 countries, including England, France, Brazil and Germany, take part in the annual competition.

The groups: Group I: JCT Football Academy, Raghav FC, New Delhi Heroes, Uttrakhand Football Academy. Group II: St. Stephen’s Football Academy, Amity United, Shimla Youngs, Varanasi Football Academy.

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