WAFF invite India to participate in five nation U-16 tournament
Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar
The tournament will also be featuring Asian powerhouses Japan and Iraq.
India U-16's rise to prominence keeps growing stronger as the Junior Colts have been invited to participate in a five-nation U-16 tournament featuring the likes of Iraq and Japan by the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF).
The tournament will kick off on August 1st in Jordan. It will be a great test for Bibiano Fernandes' side before the big event in Malaysia.
This invitation also marks the first time that the WAFF has ever invited any age-group team from India to participate in its tournament since the federation's inception way back in 2001. It is also believed that the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has accepted the invitation and will make sure that the young Colts fly off to Jordan - where the tournament is scheduled to take place- next week.
The five-nation tournament organized by WAFF will take place between 1-9 August and will involve the likes of Jordan and Yemen apart from Asian heavyweights in Japan and Iraq. It will also be an important preparatory trip for the Junior Colts, who will get the taste of top competition and learn a lesson ABOUT what to expect from the AFC U-16 Championship which takes place in September.
The young boys will leave for Kuala Lumpur on 5th September to take place in the U-16 Championship after their STINT in the tournament in Jordan. Fernandes' young Colts have really impressed fans with their terrific performances over the past year or so and their SAFF U-15 Championship victory last year helped them gain recognition.
It seems like Fernandes has instilled the right kind of attitude into his boys and because of some of their performances, India are actually heading into the AFC U-16 Championship with a load of confidence. The young Colts will aim to do their best and go all the way in the tournament, but if they manage to overcome the odds and reach the semi-final stage, they will directly qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup, which is scheduled to take place in Peru next year.
National Team Director Abhishek Yadav stated that the primary objective was the provide the team matches against sides who have qualified for the AFC U-16 Championship.
“The U16 WAFF Championship has teams which have qualified for the 2018 AFC U-16 Championship. We are entering the last phase of preparation and one of our key targets since January was to give the coach an opportunity to play against teams who have qualified for the 2018 Championship. If all goes as per plan in August, we would have played against half the Championship-qualified teams at least once,” Yadav, who has captained the Indian Senior National Team, said.
"The significance of this tournament lies in the fact that it brings together teams qualified for the 2018 AFC U16 Championship, all in their last leg of preparations,” Yadav maintained.
This itself should act as motivation for the young boys to perform well in the upcoming tournamemt in Malaysia. But before that, they need to prove their mettle once again in this pre-season tournament. The Junior Colts might be underdogs heading into the tournament, but knowing Fernandes' ability to inspire them to bite back against the biggest of opposition, it would not be entirely surprising if the India U-16s pull off a surprise in the tournament.
Published: Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:52 PM IST