Manipur footballer Bidyananda on Barcelona radar

Manipur’s blonde hair U-17 footballer Bidyananda Singh has been selected as the Most Valuable Player by the Barcelona FC coaches. The week-long football training camp at Doha’s Aspire Academy saw the India U-17 regular being rechristened ‘Honda’, due to his stark resemblance to AC Milan’s Japanese international, Keisuke Honda.

Singh, a defensive midfielder, was at the academy in the Qatari capital for a camp conducted by youth academy coaches from Barcelona, Manchester United and Inter Milan. By the end of his stint there, scouts from Barcelona had expressed an interest and have been following the youngster’s progress since.

According to SportsKeeda.com, Every year Nike holds an All Asia Camp which plays host to 60 of the very best U17 footballers from around Asia and the Pacific. Young talents scouted from countries like China, India, Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia are sent to these yearly camps. India sent five promising talents to the camp in Doha, Qatar – Gursimrat Singh (centre back), Rakesh Oram (winger), Milan Basumatary (striker), Bidyananda Singh (midfielder) and Dheeraj Singh (goalkeeper).

Singh became one of the first Indians, along with Milan Basumatary (Assam), Deeraj Singh (Manipur) and Gursimrat Singh (Manipur), to play in the academy’s All Star team. Incidentally, he also scored the opening goal in his side’s 3-1 win over Ajax.

As the second son of a retired army-man from the Assam Rifles and a mother who ran a grocery store from their home, Singh recognised the strain his footballing ambitions put on the family.

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