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Wayanad United and Kovalam shift focus to youth development

Tie-up: Kannur Squad FC has strong links to KPL side Wayanad United FC.

Tie-up: Kannur Squad FC has strong links to KPL side Wayanad United FC.
| Photo Credit: Special arrangement

With things finally falling into place for the Super League Kerala, which will kick off in September, questions are now popping up about the three prominent Kerala Premier League teams which have a tie-up with SLK sides.

What are KPL’s prominent teams like Wayanad United FC, Kovalam FC, and Tirur’s SAT, which are also led or owned by the new Super League franchisees of Kannur Squad FC, Thiruvananthapuram Kombans FC or the Malappuram FC, planning?

“We will play in the KPL but the focus at Wayanad United will be on grassroots and youth development,” said Shameem Backer, WU FC’s president and co-owner of SLK’s Kannur Squad, in a chat with The Hindu on Saturday.

“We can propose our main players for the SLK’s player pool… and our under-21 side will become our KPL team next year.”

Wayanad United, which topped the KPL’s league phase last year, organised the Yuva Cup Schools League a few months ago with a long-term vision and is now looking to pick quality fruits from that exercise for the SLK in future.

“We have selected 30 under-16 players, all from Wayanad, from the Yuva Cup and we have given 100% scholarship to eight of them under our residential scheme,” said Shameem.

That seems to be the plan at Kovalam FC, which has strong links with the Kombans, too.

“Our plan is to work on grassroots and youth development and take the talented players from there to the SKL,” said Ebin Rose, Kovalam’s head coach.

“We will continue in the KPL but if there are financial issues we will restrict our focus at Kovalam to youth and junior categories as Goan clubs Dempo and Salgoacar did a few years ago.”

SAT to give its KPL title chances a big push

But Tirur’s SAT, which shocked some top teams before losing to defending champion Kerala United in the KPL final in February, wants to give its Premier League title chances a big push next year.

“SAT is a separate entity and all its players and activities will remain as they are. We were runners-up in the KPL, next year we hope to be winners,” said Anvar Ameen Chelat, the president of SAT and co-owner of Malappuram FC in Super League.

SAT could also be a leading feeder for Malappuram FC.

“Yes, based on scouting… SAT’s existing and previous players will have priority,” said Anwar.

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