Young stars have shone at the international stage for all the South Asian nations who have taken part in the SAFF Suzuki Cup campaigns. It is not only their technical skillset but also the hard working attitude towards the sport that have earned them their call ups to the respective national teams. As part of the build up to SAFF Suzuki Cup 2015, we list out the young guns with potential to surprise any team and make their nation proud. Here are the young stars who are expected to make it big this time around:
Mustafa Zazai- Afghanistan
Mustafa Zazai looked elated as he ran away to the left to celebrate with his team mates after tapping in a cross from the left into the back of the net to score the first goal of the match against Cambodia a few weeks ago.At just 22 years of age, Zazai, who plays in midfield for the Lions of Khorasan has managed to become the talk of the town recently after putting in consistent and solid displays for his national team. With a few more international call ups under his belt, he can look forward to scoring more goals and improving upon his current skill set.
Shakhawat Hossain Rony- Bangladesh
Known among the fans as a true No 9, the centre forward from Bangladesh has managed to rack up quite a few important goals in his short international career, especially in the AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers. With source for goals a concern for this Bangladesh team, this young man has what it takes to relieve the pressure off his partners and rack up a few important match winners in this year’s SAFF Suzuki Cup.
Chencho Gyeltshen – Bhutan
Bhutan have their own Ronaldo in their ranks.Nicknamed ‘CG7’, Chencho Gyeltshen has worn the number 7 jersey to great effect so far. His dribbling, direct attacking football has caused opposition defenders all sorts of problems, and like the real CR7, this youngster loves taking on defenders as well. Gyeltshen is Bhutan’s all-time leading scorer. At such a young age, time is on his side and SAFF Suzuki Cup 2015 will be the perfect stage for him to showcase his talent to the fans that adore him.
Sandesh Jhingan – India
Sandesh Jhingan is a 22 year old Indian centre back who can play as a full back as well. At such a young age, Jhingan has firmly established as the first choice centre back for the Indian national team which itself is a phenomenal achievement. With a physique that is tailor made for a defender and a mentality that encourages him to make the right decisions at crucial moments of the match, Jhingan suits the bill perfectly for a centre back. He was voted as the ‘Emerging Player of the Year’ by the All India Football Federation in 2014 and in SAFF Suzuki Cup 2015, it is upto Jhingan to show to the rest of the world, how much of a completed product he has become.
Hamzath Mohamed – Maldives
Hailing from the famous football island of Eydhafushi, the youngster from Maldives has gotten his footballing career off to a promising start. Mohamad currently plays for New Radiant at the domestic level and has grown to become the most promising young footballer the island nation has produced in recent times. His quality and pace on the ball makes him the perfect winger.He is being touted as the next Ali Fasir who is also from Eydhafushi. The stage is set for Hamzath Mohamed to make his nation proud.
Bimal Magar- Nepal
Bimal Magar is undoubtedly one of the best young talents in the sub-continent at the moment. Being the youngest goal scorer in Nepal’s history, he has had trial stints with several clubs in Europe which include Anderlecht and Club Brugge. With a composed mind to finish off team moves and his movement off the ball making him a force to be reckoned with on the field, Bimal Magar’s future is in his own hands. There is a big future waiting for him if he is ready to grab it with both hands.
Saddam Hussain – Pakistan
Hussain is a no nonsense midfielder from Pakistan who made his debut for the national team in the SAFF Suzuki Cup 2011. Since his debut, he has managed to impress both fans and the coaching staff alike and has been a mainstay in the Shaheen’s midfield. His physique and his technique allow him to contribute to both sides of the field. He has being doing well since 2011, and he’ll be expected to step it up this December.
Mohamed Rifnas – Sri Lanka
Rifnas is a talented midfielder from Sri Lanka who has managed to catch the eye of the scouts in the region. The 20 year old plays for Renown Sports Club at club level and has managed to impress the coaches so much that they decided to call him up to the senior side. He has wasted no time in establishing himself in the national team and will be raring to go if given a chance in this year’s SAFF Suzuki Cup.
With young players, the outcome is something you can never predict. It is not fair to place heavy expectations upon them very early in their career. What they need is support from the fans, and if the players are talented they will come good sooner rather than later. And SAFF Suzuki Cup 2015 is a great opportunity for these youngsters to analyze how far they have come and how they can improve. If we are lucky, we might even witness the rise of a new superstar.
(SAFF Suzuki Cup)