Indian football team ready to take on Europeans: U-16 coach Nicolai
Margao, Oct 6 (IANS) India U-16 team head coach Nicolai Adam said on Thursday they are ready to compete against European teams despite a 0-1 loss to Russia in the BRICS U-17 football tournament.
"We have the calibre to play against some of the top Teams of Europe like Russia, however this is still a work in progress, and we have to strive to become better in order to ensure our competitiveness in the FIFA World Cup next year," Nicolai told www.the-aiff.com.
"I am surprised myself in a good way that the overall pictures shows that we are competitive already and can give some of the best teams in the world a hard time."
India gave a good account of themselves in the narrow loss to Russia at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on Wednesday.
"Russia is one of the countries which has the potential to qualify for the U-17 World Cup in India next year and we had to be realistic against them. We had hard time to play and create clear goal scoring opportunities, but we were able to bring them at par with us in football terms.
"We tried to kill Russia's strength, their wingplay, in the second half and that worked for us. Although the team followed the tactical orders to perfection, and there were a lot of positives to take from the match, we still have to remember that we lost and still there is a lot of work to be done."
India take on South Africa in their next game.
"We have to digest the difference styles of football in this tournament. We have already played against the European style of play in Russia and now we look forward to see the African style of play.
We are not the favourites to win the match as South Africa are physically and offensively better and stronger than us and possess the quality to score at any moment."