FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: India to host friendly against Mauritius in Goa next week
What's the story?
Paying heed to the manager Luis Norton de Matos' request for holding a friendly before the Indian team begin their final preparations for the FIFA U-17 World Cup, the All Indian Football Federation (AIFF) has organized a match against Mauritius next week which will be played in Goa. This game will be a much-needed test for the young Colts to prepare themselves in the best possible way for the showdown next month.
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A few weeks ago, Norton de Matos was worried about his boys lacking match fitness and had requested the board to arrange a friendly before India's first game on October 6. After taking over in March, the Portuguese manager took this Indian team on tours to Portugal and Mexico which provided the players a platform to test themselves.
Although victories were few and far between for the Colts, the exposure gained by the team will stand them in good stead for the testing conditions of the World Cup.
The heart of the matter
In order to arrange a friendly on the last minute, the Indian governing body contacted the likes of Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa and Indonesia for a game in either Bengaluru or Goa. But the mentioned teams rejected the offer because of an invitation on such short notice. Then the board contacted Mauritius who said yes for a match to be played in Goa.
The AIFF maintains a good relationship with its Mauritian counterpart considering the fact that the senior Mauritius national team also came to India last month for a friendly tri-nation series.
The Indian U-17 team are currently training at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa and will shift base to New Delhi on the 26th of this month. India play all their group games against Colombia, USA, and Ghana in the capital itself.
Arranging a friendly is a step taken in the right direction by the board for a team which has lacked ample match practice in the recent past. The manager has got his wish and the boys must give their best to be prepared for the bigger challenges from October 6. The game against Mauritius will also give us an idea about how Norton de Matos will make up his playing eleven for the World Cup.