FIFA U-17 World Cup: India U-17 team to play two friendlies at home
Indian colts may play against Mali and Iran in the coming month.
What’s the story?
India U-17 football team are done with travelling across the globe and now they will prepare on their home soil. “The team won’t be travelling abroad, almost 90% they will be training here in India,” AIFF general secretary Kushal Das told TOI on Wednesday.
The two friendlies can take place in Bengaluru as per the report.
They played their last match in Mexico in which the Indian colts held Chile for a 1-1 draw. Less than two months remain for the FIFA U17 World Cup to kick-off. And the India U-17 team is expected to land back in the country on Thursday and start their preparation in Delhi. India will play at least two friendlies before the World Cup and that too against the participating nations.
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India will start their campaign on 6th of October in Delhi against the United States. Matos has expressed his wish to focus more on training sessions and strength building.Indian coach Luis Norton de Matos had earlier said that he doesn’t want to play too many matches now.
The Indian colts were scheduled to fly to Australia to play two friendlies against New Zealand, New Caledonia and two local sides. However, due to weather issues, the trip was called off.
The heart of the matter
India U-17 team needs more practice matches to prepare themselves well before the much-awaited World Cup. Since their Australia trip got cancelled Matos had asked the AIFF to arrange a few practice matches in India.
Indian colts know their conditions best and with the games set to be held in their own backyard, it's high time that the youngsters get acclimatised to the conditions after spending a lot of time away from home.
India will play in their home conditions and Matos knows it well that if they are to extract the conditions well then India have a chance to qualify for the next round. Therefore, he felt that there is no point playing in such cold conditions in Australia and the best option would be to play a couple of practice matches in India itself.
The AIFF has already lined up a friendly against Mali who will be one of the favourites in the World Cup. India’s other opponent could be Iran, finalists of the AFC Championship that was held last year in Goa.
Kushal Das has already confirmed the friendly against Mali and he also said along with Iran, AFC Champions Iraq also want to test their mettle against the hosts of U-17 World Cup this year.
I feel, playing two friendlies here in India will surely help them in their preparation. The World Cup is not far away and it’s time for the team to work on compact practice sessions and working on the loop holes they still have.
Fitness and stamina will be great factors too.