Colombia arrive for U-17 WC, to play Minerva in practice game
New Delhi, Sep 21 (PTI) The first to land in India for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, Colombia will play a practice game against Mohali-based Minerva Academy side on September 27 in Gurgaon.
The practice game was arranged as soon as a 21-member Colombian team, along with the support staff, landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here at wee hours (2am IST) today.
Minerva owner Rajit Bajaj confirmed the practice game.
"Our Academy side is playing the practice game against the Colombia Under-17 side on September 27 at Heritage School ground in Gurgaon. We are really privileged to have been invited to play the game," Bajaj said.
"Our Academy side will travel from Chandigarh to Gurgaon and stay at a hotel there. We are footing our own bill because it is a big opportunity for us. We have seven players at the India U-17 camp in Goa, but we have enough strength to do well against Colombia in the practice game," he added.
Colombia coach Orlando Restrepo exuded confidence that his boys will put up a good show in the marquee junior event, starting October 6.
The South American nation is placed in Group A and will play two of its group matches in New Delhi and one match in Navi Mumbai.
Los Cafeteros coach Restrepo said: "We are delighted to be here. The boys and the staff are all looking forward to a competitive tournament where we will put our best foot forward."
It will be Colombia's sixth FIFA U-17 World Cup appearance though they haven't played the last three editions of the tournament with Nigeria 2009 being the last FIFA U-17 World Cup they took part in.
The CONMEBOL team secured their World Cup berth by finishing third in the South American U-17 Championship that was held earlier this year.
Speaking about the first team's arrival, Tournament Director of the Local Organising Committee, Javier Ceppi said, "It is very exciting to have Colombia as the first team coming into the country. With their arrival, the tournament now enters into the last stage, with the national teams starting their preparations actually on-ground to get used to the conditions in India.
"We encourage all the fans to welcome all the teams that will start arriving from now onwards and to show the hospitality of this wonderful country."
Besides Colombia and hosts India, the 22 remaining teams will be landing in India over the course of the next two weeks.
The Colombia squad:
Goalkeepers: Nicolas Gamez Londono, Kevin Leonardo Mier Robles, Daniel Jose Melo Cabarcas.
Defenders: Andres Felipe Balanta Cifuentes, Robert Andres Mejia Navarrete, Christian Alfonso Andrade Olmedeo, Thomas Gutierrez Serna, Juan Sebastian Penaloza Ragga.
Midfielders: Gustavo Adolfo Carvajal Gomez, Luis Miguel Lopez Gonzalez, Yadir Meneses Betancur, Andres Felipe Perea Castaneda, Arley Gomez Ramirez, Guillermo Alejandro Tegue, Etilso Jose Martinez Palacio, Fabian Steven Angel Bernal.
Forwards: Deiber Jair Caicedo, Deyman Andres Cortes Herrera, Jaminton Leandro Campaz, David Santiago Barrero, Juan David Vidal