Korou Singh: The Answer to The Inevitable Void of Sunil Chhetri?

A new striker is on the horizon to fill up the gap in the Indian strike force after the retirement of Chhetri.

A versatile and efficient striking force has always been a scarcity for the Indian National Football Team over the years. The likes of Bhaichung Bhutia, IM Vijayan, and Dipendu Biswas are a thing of the past. India is highly dependent on the ferocity of Sunil Chhetri nowadays. There is a bright star in the sky that is making claims to replace him.

Forward Korou Singh

Forward Korou Singh of the India U-17 Men's squad has many aspirations and goals as he prepares alongside his colleagues for what would be the most significant contest of their young careers thus far—the AFC U-17 Asian Cup. The 16-year-old has been a prominent member of the India U-17 team since the SAFF U-17 Championship in 2022, the first competition in which the current group of players competed together, and through last year's AFC U-17 Asian Cup Qualifiers.

He has been in amazing form recently, scoring goals against Getafe and Atletico Youth.

Meeting with Torres

Atletico Youth manager Fernando Torres recently met him, and he is overwhelmed with the chance to see the Spanish striker.

"It was a dream come true to meet a legend like Fernando Torres. We also got to interact with him and gain more knowledge from his football insights. It’s been a holistic experience so far," he said.

He now has his eyes set on the tour to Germany to play the youth academies of Bundesliga sides. 

"We have two weeks in Germany ahead of us now, and we need to use that time to learn as much as possible before we finally go to Thailand for the Asian Cup," said Korou. "The motivation is definitely high, and we want to do well there."

Durand Cup Experience

Even though Korou began playing football with his buddies at the tender age of nine and had a natural knack for offensive play, he never actually obtained any official training in the game. Korou was raised by cousins after his parents died in a flood. His cousins were always supportive of his aspirations to play football. He then participated in trials for Sudeva Delhi FC and was subsequently chosen.

"Getting into Sudeva was a big break for me. It was not a very good time for my family, and we all had suffered, but finally something good had happened, and that gave me a lot of hope," said Korou, as per AIFF. "It was at Sudeva that I started getting professional training for the first time, and my game also began to improve."

He also took part in the prestigious Durand Cup in 2021, facing Jamshedpur FC and FC Goa. This was a breakthrough for him, as he got noticed by the youth selectors.

"The Durand Cup was a big experience for me. Playing against such top players was of course very difficult, but it was an eye opener," said Korou. "It also gave me the opportunity to be spotted for the national team, and I am so grateful for that."

Making his family smile

He exclaimed that his cousins will be very happy now that he is representing the Blue Tigers on the field. He wishes to become a national player for the senior team one day. 

"I’m sure they are proud that I am playing for India now. They want me to play professionally in a few years and to play for the senior national team further down the line," said Korou.