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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Weather proving an obstacle in India's preparations

India coach plans to play friendlies in home conditions instead.

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The India U-17s during a training session

What’s the story?

India U-17 team’s World Cup preparation in Australia has been hit hard and the sticking point is the weather. The Indian Colts were all set to fly to Australia later this month for four friendly matches after the completion of their current Mexico tour.

Now, however, it seems that tour will be called off due to the current weather condition in Australia. At the moment, the temperature down under ranges between 0-8 degrees and Indian coach Luis Norton de Matos feels that there is no point in playing in such cold conditions.

He has asked the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to organise a few friendlies in India instead. "The U-17 team is now in Mexico where the temperature is around 18 degrees. They will return to a hot and humid Delhi in the second week of August and were supposed to fly to Australia on August 15. While there wouldn't have been any issues in procuring the visa, the weather is a deterrent," a well-placed AIFF source told TOI on Thursday.

In case you didn't know...

Earlier, their exposure tour to the United States was cancelled in July and the trip to Mexico got delayed due to visa and ticketing issues.

The AIFF said in a press release that the exposure tour of the US was planned to give the boys valuable experience ahead of the World Cup.

The heart of the matter

The Indian team are currently on an exposure tour to Mexico where they have already played two friendlies against Mexico (lost 1-5) and Colombia (lost 0-3). They will be facing Chile on August 6th.

In Australia, India were supposed to play against New Zealand, New Caledonia and two local sides. The AIFF, though, is not completely ruling out the Australia tour, as reported by TOI. At the same time, the AIFF now needs plans to organise friendlies in India since Matos has asked for it.

What’s next?

India will play their FIFA U-17 World Cup group games against USA, Colombia and Ghana in New Delhi. The head coach of the India Colts Matos expressed hope for the hosts and how his team are ready to challenge their group members.

India kick off the mega-event on October 6 against the USA. The Portuguese coach praised his squad many times, going as far as to say they have the potential to put up a fight against any opponent.

Author’s take

Playing friendly matches in Australia could have been a big bonus for the Indian Colts but one can’t fight against nature, surely. Matos is right in saying that there is no point playing in such adverse weather in Australia since the World Cup will be in India. It would be better if India can play in their home conditions. According to me, that will help their cause even more. 


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