The competition will be played through to 29th September in Nepal.
India U-19 Coach Floyd Pinto mentioned the “exposure trips” have helped the boys prepare well for the SAFF Championship, and the AFC U-19 Qualifiers which are slated for November. Speaking at the official pre-tournament press conference in Kathmandu on Thursday (September 19, 2019), Pinto felt the “preparations have been good.”
“Back home the Federation in association with SAI have been helping us a lot as far as getting a lot of exposure trips and practice matches are concerned. That has helped us to prepare for the two main tournaments in the year, the SAFF Championship, and the AFC U-19 Qualifiers in November,” Pinto stated. “I need to thank ANFA for the manner they have hosted us.”
“The players are looking forward to the Championship, and so am I. We are waiting to go out on the field, and play some good football.”
India begin their campaign against Bangladesh on September 23, and then play Sri Lanka two days later on September 25. The semi-finals are slated for September 27, while the final is on September 29.
The U-19 boys head to the SAFF Championship on back of a successful outing in Vanuatu, where they had finished in the first place. However, Floyd wasn’t much willing to read much into it. “No two countries are the same. What happened in Vanuatu was a good experience for us. It prepared us for what we could be facing in SAFF — a similar playing style, and physicality and weather,” the coach opined.
“It’s all down to how we start in the first game against Bangladesh. We need to maintain our focus and intensity. It will put down a marker for us, and them, and also the other teams in the tournament. We need to adjust well, a good start is always so important.”
Goalkeeper Prabshukhan Singh Gill also stressed the team “has prepared well for the SAFF Championship.”
“We have prepared well for this tournament, and have recently won the OFC youth Development tournament. That was a good boost for us. We would like to carry on the momentum in the Championship,” he mentioned.