In the draw held at Panjim, Goa earlier today, the FIFA U-17 World Cup bound Indian U16 team has been clubbed in a very tight Group A.
The Group A consists of Iran, Saudi Arabia and UAE apart from India. All the three opponents are powerhouses in Asian football.
Group B has Australia, Japan, Vietnam and Kyrgyzstan
Group C consists of Korea Republic, Malaysia, Oman and Iraq
The fourth Group that is Group D has Korea DPR, Uzbekistan, Thailand and Yemen
The Group A has already been labelled as the Group of Death by the Indian Football fans and they are quite wary of the Indian prospects in the upcoming championship at home.
But coach Nikolai Adam remained unperturbed, saying that he was not looking to avoid any team in the tournament as such and is ready for the challenge.
“There was no question about avoiding any particular Team. I was perhaps the most relaxed person in the hall and all I want is good Competition which will augur well for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup” Nikolai Adam
The coach also added that the Saudi and the UAE U16 teams are new to him and his homework would be to figure thee two teams out,
The AFC U-16 Finals kick-off in Goa on September 15, 2016 with the Final slated to be held onOctober 2, 2016. India has qualified for the finals not only by the virtue of being the hosts but also on merit when they finished among top best third placed teams in the qualifiers. Notably Nepal had also qualified but was disqualified for fielding overage players.
With the AIFF Youth Cup having been concluded, the India U-16 Team are proceeding to exposure Tours to Germany and Norway as part of their preparation for the Championship.
Below are India’s fixtures for the Tournament:
September 15, 2016: India vs UAE – September (7pm).
September 18, 2016: Saudi Arabia vs India (7pm).
September 21, 2016: India vs Iran (7pm).
With Inputs and Pics from AIFF Media.