The India U-17 Men’s National Team has traveled to Doha to prepare for the AFC U-17 Asian Cup, where they will face Qatar U-17s in the first of two friendly matches at the Aspire Academy on Saturday, February 25, 2023.
However, Bibiano Fernandes, the team’s head coach, is optimistic about the two upcoming friendlies.
“We’ve got a good buzz going around in the camp. The boys feel confident, and I’m sure they will be able to produce some good results against Qatar in these two matches”
“Qatar are of course a good side, they are one of the best in Asia, and playing against them will be a good experience for the boys,”
Since November 2022, the India U-17s have been training in Goa and have played two friendly against the Uzbekistan U-17s (2-0 and 0-3). However, Fernandes, 46, feels that having his team in camp for over four months has helped the players understand each other and themselves.
“When you’re at this age, you could often struggle to figure out the team chemistry, and also how to figure out your own strengths and weaknesses and play according to them,”
“We have been doing that and much more in the last four months, and the boys are getting up to the desired level that will put us in good stead for the Asian Cup.”
INDIA U17 COACH’S VIEWS OF FERNANDES
Fernandes went on to emphasize the need of playing friendly matches against competitive teams in order to prepare the team for the best in Asia.
“Matches are always important for development, especially at this age. Our ultimate goal is to make the last four in Asian Cup, which would then take us to the World Cup. To compete at the Asian level, we need to play not only the best in Asia, but also those that are above that level,”
The duel between India and Qatar will begin at 7.30 p.m. IST on Saturday, February 25, 2023.
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