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AIFF XI gear up to take on Indonesia's Frenz United

Photo Credit:AIFF Media

BARASAT: The lights light up the practice session at the Barasat Stadium. AIFF XI, represented by All India Football Federation’s Kalyani Regional Academy, which also happens to be the U-16 National Team, run around.

The boys chirp while they play – everyone directing the other on their blind side. From the sidelines, the intensity impresses you.

“We need to convert the intensity of the practice sessions into the match,” Head Coach tells www.the-aiff.com after the session ends.

AIFF XI take on Frenz United Indonesia in their first Home-match of the Asia Champions Trophy 2014 at the Barasat Stadium on Saturday, May 24. The kick-off is at 6.35pm and the match will be telecast live on DD Sports.

“The format of the Tournament makes the Home-matches so important. We understand and know that our opponents, Frenz United, Indonesia are a strong unit. They have several U-16 National Team Players in their ranks. We need to be cautious,” Ghosh adds. “The mistakes which we committed in our first match should not be repeated.”

Ghosh has made one change to his squad of 18 which had played against Frenz United, Malaysia, A in the first match with Edmund Lalrindika replacing Bedashwor Singh.

As per the Tournament regulations, six substitutions are allowed in a Match.

Incidentally, Frenz United, Malaysia A, AIFF XI’s opponents in the first match and Frenz United, Indonesia are run by the same management with the same owner.

“The boys have responded well after the away-loss in the first match. The Malaysian National Team who were represented by Frenz United had finished ahead of Korea in the AFC U-16 Qualifiers. The fact that we created three open chances against them speaks about the quality of my boys,” Ghosh quips.

The evenings stay pleasant in Barasat. A cool breeze blows across the Stadium and quite a few onlookers enquire about the Match timings. There are no tickets for the Match, entry is free.

Ghosh, meanwhile, blows his whistle, walks up to his wards and explains. The boys listen. Thereafter, the practice restarts, and the whistle blows again. “I want quality,” Ghosh stresses. The boys listen again.

Two minutes later, you hear Ghosh clap. “That’s it. That’s what we should do,” he pronounces. The boys listen again, but this time, the smiles are back.

“You need to handle them in a delicate manner. You always need to remember they are 15-year olds; some are even 14- year olds. Coaching an age-group Team is so different,” he states.

Has the loss in the first match affected the morale of the boys?

“Understandable, they were dejected. At this age, that’s obvious. But its early days in the Tournament,” he tells you.

“The excitement of the boys knows no bounds. They will be playing their first Home-match ever. In recent years, this is the first time, an AIFF XI will play at Home,” Ghosh utters.

Every Team will play 10 Matches in the Home and Away Format with the top two from each Group advancing to the Semifinals which are also to be played on a Home and Away format as are the Finals.

The kick-off at the Barasat Stadium on Saturday is at 6.35pm (Live on DD Sports)

THE SQUAD:

GOALKEEPERS: Dheeraj Singh (Manipur), Subrata Das (West Bengal).

DEFENDERS: Jayananda Singh and Kishan Singh (both from Manipur), Jerry Lalrinzuala (Mizoram), Prosenjit Chakraborty and Amit Tudu (both from West Bengal), Amey Ranawade (Maharashtra).

MIDFIELDERS: Bodo Baoringdao (Assam), Kyntiew Kharlukhi (Meghalaya), Anirudh Thapa and Deependra Singh Negi (both from Uttarakhand), Aaron Franklin (Goa).

FORWARDS: Nijwm Muchahary (Assam) Krishna Pandit (Chandigarh), Nuruddin Sameer (Uttar Pradesh), Kapil Hoble (Goa), Edmund Lalrindika (Mizoram).

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