The India U-18 boys under coach Floyd Pinto begin the first match of their campaign against Bangladesh on September 23rd in Kathmandu, Nepal. The team is pretty confident after several successful exposure tours, the most recent in Vanuatu where they participated in the OFC Youth Development Tournament. According to Pinto, these tours have helped the team prepare well for both the SAFF championships as well as the AFC U-19 qualifiers in November.
During the pre-tournament interview with the-aiff.com, Goalkeeper Prabshukhan Singh Gill said,” “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,”
The spirits in the camp are quite good as they face their first test on Monday, the coach was looking forward to the test, “A good showing in Nepal will mean we can shift our focus towards the AFC qualifiers, which will be another step up and most difficult as compared to all the other tournaments. We hope to continue the momentum and if we do so, it will give us great confidence.”
India has previously been runner-ups in the 2015 editions of the tournament that had seen the rise of the likes of Anirudh Thapa and Daniel Lalhlimpuia. This edition too has a few well known names, most notable of which is the defender Narender Gahlot who made his national team debut and scored too under coach Igor Stimac in the Hero Intercontinental Cup and Jeakson Singh who was the first goal scorer for India in a FIFA world cup when he scored in the U-17 World Cup in 2017 to name a few.
The teams first opponents, Bangladesh have so far won against Sri Lanka comprehensively, winning by 3-0. They will definitely not be easy to beat for the Indian colts. The coach was aware of this and said that the team is ready for the test and will be on top of their game with the same focus and intensity.
Assistant coach Mahesh Gawli insisted that apart from this, the championship will also provide a good platform for the team to test themselves, and help them to prepare well for AFC U-19 Championship qualifiers.
After India face Bangladesh, they will face Sri Lanka on 25th, with the Semifinals and finals set to take place on 27th and 29th respectively.
The Indian Squad for the tournament is:
GOALKEEPERS: Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, Lalbiakhlua Jongte, Niraj Kumar
DEFENDERS: Muhammed Rafi, Jitendra Singh, Akash Mishra, Narender, Bikash Yumnam, Sumit Rathi, Moirangthem Thoiba Singh, Hormipam Ruivah
MIDFIELDERS: Vikram Partap Singh, Ninthoinganba Meetei Khumanthem, Tankadhar Bag, Givson Singh Moirangthem, Ricky John Shabong, Jeakson Singh Thounaojam, Ravi Bahadur Rana, Lalrampana Pautu, Vanlalruatfela Thlacheu
FORWARDS: Aman Chetri, Manvir Singh, Gurkirat Singh
Venue: APF Stadium, Kathmandu
Kickoff: 2.45 PM IST
Live Streaming: mycujoo.tv