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Govt support, youth league our area of strength: Turkey coach

01 Oct 2017, 16:17 IST
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By Nikhil Bapat

Navi Mumbai, Oct 1 (PTI) A well-structured youth development programme supported by the government forms the cornerstone of a quality Turkey U-17 side, whose first aim is to clear the group league stage of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, feels coach Mehmet Hacioglu.

The Turkey coach said that in order to prepare for the World Cup, the youth league was advanced.

"Youth leagues in our country generally start much sooner than other countries. We had camps for longer periods, we went to Doha to acclimatise before coming to India. We have a structured system and we have got a lot of support from the government," Hacioglu, who had guided the team to European U- 17 semi-finals, said.

Asked what is more important at the U-17 level -- winning the championship or general development of the players, the coach replied:"Even if you are playing on the streets, you always want to win."

Turkey are placed in group B with Mali, New Zealand and Paraguay. Hacioglu believes that the other three teams will have players, who could be physically more stronger with bigger built. But that won't deter Turkey from displaying their set of skills.

"I can say that all the groups are strong. But, one of the most important things in football is to respect the rivals, so we are also respecting our rivals. Realistically, the other three teams (in the Group) have more physical advantages. But we have lot of talented players and we can change this disadvantage into an advantage," the head coach added.

He further said the primary target for the team was to qualify from the Group stage and they would go step by step to achieve it.

"I believe that difficulties bring much bigger successes. We have a target, we have a plan. We put our targets step by step. During European U-17 Championship, we had planned in a similar manner. We reached the semi-final."

"In the World Cup, our primary target is qualifying from the group stage, first of all. After this, we want to continue step by step. I believe that our players have the capacity to get success," Hacioglu concluded

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