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A brief look at the Indian U-16s: Who are Colts set to represent the nation at the AFC U-16 Championship

Written by: Punit Tripathi

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The Indian Colts have been impressing under the guidance of Bibiano Fernandes.

The Indian National team qualified for the AFC Asian Cup 2019 in style, beating the Kyrgyz Republic and Myanmar en route. The fact has been well disseminated by the media, but the nation needs to know and applause it’s younger stars as well.

No, we’re not talking about the Indian Arrows squad, we’re talking about the U-16 team, that qualified for the AFC U-16 Championships to be held later this year. To be held from September 20 to October 7, 2018, the tournament may well open the floodgates for India into Asia, with Bibiano Fernandes, the coach, grooming the side admirably well.

The team qualified for the continental challenge by drawing against Iraq, the defending champions. Easily one of the strongest sides in the age-groups of Asia, holding Iraq to a draw should be considered no mean feat from a side that was missing one of its key players, Rohit Danu.

Let’s take a look into the side that is set to participate in a four-team tournament featuring India, China (the hosts), DPR Korea or North Korea, as it is more commonly known, and Thailand. India is certainly going to benefit a lot from this tournament that starts July 3. In these three games, India is taking on one of the stronger units of Asia, and that bodes well for the Blue Cubs.

A look At The Side

The team looks in a good nip, with most bases well covered. Coach Bibiano Fernandes has been guiding side for over a year now, and the results are showing. India defeated Jordan 2-1 in a four-nation tournament it participated in Serbia, with Jordan and Tajikistan participating alongside the hosts.

Fernandes has time and again suggested that he works on defensive stability and attacking cohesion, something that the team has shown in training. With Danu back and on song, India will ride on him and Vikram Pratap Singh’s coordination to create damage opposition defences.

The side usually lines up in a 4-3-3 formation or a traditional 4-4-2, with creative wingers or wide forwards a must. Quick passing, off the ball runs with midfielders firing lobbed passes, and robust defending with closing spaces are all characteristics of India junior’s gameplay.




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Team and formation

Note: There has been an influx of new players who’re currently attending the camp.

Let’s take a look at the 4-4-2 formation first, that looks more likely to be put into effect.

Khel Now understands that Lalbiakhlua Jongte is expected to start in goal, or else, will be replaced by a newcomer.

In the backline, Gurkirat Singh and Harpreet Singh can be expected to be immovable assets. With Thoiba Singh Moirangthem’s physicality and ball-playing ability no secret, he takes his place in the right centre-back position as well. Odisha lad Samir Kerketta has had decent performances at right-back, and can be expected to continue. Gurkirat can feature at left-back.

At the heart of the midfield, Lalchhanhima Sailo and Givson Singh Moirangthem will add to India’s security, while spreading balls over the defence’s backline or spreading play to the wings. Sailo is a good transitioner and holds onto the ball well, while Givson’s tirelessness is a boon for any midfield.

On the wings, Bekey Oram’s creativity will be on display on the left, while Ravi Bahadur Rana can be expected to start on the right. Both players are to interchange wings, and that will trouble opposition full-backs well.

Up top, Vikram Pratap Singh runs and work rate will support Rohit Danu’s creative clinicalness and dead-ball ability. The pair have worked together for a while now and the current camp in Goa must be helping the boys get back into their rhythm.

(4-3-3)

If the manager needs to add that extra man in midfield, Ravi Bahadur Rana is expected to join the midfield, with Bekey Oram operating from the left and Vikram shifting to the right. Vikram has shown in the past that he can play on the wing, in a two-striker format or the lone man upfront. Fernandes is lucky to have his versatility.

Published: Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:32 PM IST

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