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FIFA U17 World Cup 2017: Chile forced into outdoor media duties as CCFC doesn't open doors

1.50K   //    03 Oct 2017, 18:35 IST

The Chile U17s
The Chile U17s

Chak De India, a Shahrukh Khan movie involving hockey seems to be the go-to inspiration for the Chilean coach and his lads in their preparation for the impending FIFA U-17 World Cup.

The battle Mantra that Hernan Caputto, the Chilean coach has settled into is "This time it will be Chak De Chile." Speaking to the local media on being forced to interact with them on the sidewalks overlooking the CCFC ground, where they were practising, he added: "The film was very inspiring, we watched it and want to achieve the target like that as a team."

The club may have failed to show the basic decency to the local and international media ( a few Chilean journalists were there too) even flouting the viewing of the 15-minute practice session allowed for the press but coach Caputto, his goalkeeper, Julio Borquez and Waleska Fuchslocher, the media-manager who came out to hold this impromptu 'press conference' were very hospitable indeed. Waleska even clarified that not allowing the media to witness the first fifteen minutes of the training as per FIFA protocol was "not the team's decision".

Caputto, though, didn't hold any grudge against the quality of the turf they were practising on and seemed quite satisfied with it. When he addressed us after the end of his first day's practice, beads of perspiration were breaking out on his face but then he was quite well-prepared for this eventuality. The Chilean team have been conditioning them for nearly six months in temperatures close to 35-degree centigrade and humidity around 95%, the same conditions that they expect to face during the group stages and in India in general. They have even incorporated yoga sessions in their conditioning routine under the tutelage of famous yoga guru, Bikram Choudhury.

Cleary the heat and humidity seem their primary focus. Yoga is one way they believe to overcome the harrowing conditions. The other concern seems to be the spicy food. Apparently, the Chilean side has been taking inputs from the Colombian side who had come to practice here before them. The message that they received among other things was to be careful about the local food. "We will have to be careful about the spicy food. It is an important issue," Caputto had said.

Chile play their first match against England on October 8th. It was learnt that though this team is not extraordinarily talented - no likes of Vidal or Sanchez to be expected - they try to make up for it with intelligence and discipline. The one to watch out for will be Ignacio Mesias and Pedro Campos - the former had netted three in Mexico's four-nation tournament while the later is being considered as a 'concealed weapon'.

Right-winger cum forward, Campos had performed very well in a European four-nation tournament comprising Belgium, Poland and France. But he has not been seen much in action as he was suffering from an injury during the qualifying stages. Borquez, who was judged as the Best Goalkeeper in the South-American Qualifiers, is their other big hope.

During the post-qualifying practice matches, they had lost to Mexico 1-3 and drawn with Colombia and India. In their group, they have to deal with England, Iraq and Mexico. Caputto knows it very well that going forward may become heavy. "All teams are tough. We are preparing ourselves for all," is all he would say for now.

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Sudipto Mullick is a freelance writer and contributes on various subjects for The Statesman, Delhi Press ( magazines Woman's Era, Alive and their websites) and few other news portals.
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