Tag: Bibiano Fernandes

India edge Vietnam in their AFC U-16 Championship opener

Kuala Lumpur: India’s persistence paid off as they edged Vietnam 1-0 in Group C of the AFC U-16 Championship Malaysia 2018 at the UM Arena on Friday.

In a tightly contested affair, Vietnam started the match strongly as they fought for early possession against an Indian side who had stayed unbeaten in the qualifiers. But the Southeast Asians soon found themselves under pressure as India pushed forward.

Gurkirat Singh found space down the left and delivered a perfect cross to Vikram Partab, who timed his run perfectly as he skipped past his marker in the box but his finishing was tame as it sailed past the goalmouth in the fifth minute.

Vietnam, unfazed by India’s persistence, surged forward in the 12th minute as Dinh Thanh Trung made his way on the right and passed it square to Khuat Van Khang, who fired straight into the arms of India goalkeeper Niraj Kumar.

Two minutes later, The Young Golden Dragons attacked the Indian defence as they committed players upfront. Nguyen The Hung made an intelligent run and picked out an unmarked Dinh but the midfielder pulled his shot wide.

India’s best chance came in the 16th minute with Partab in the thick of action as his close range effort was blocked by Vietnam custodian Nguyen Duy Dung and the striker diverted the rebound to Ricky John Shabong, who sent it way off the mark.

Vu Hong Viet’s side turned up the tempo in the 20th minute as they barraged their opponents with crosses into the box in the hope of finding a glimpse of space but India stayed calm and defended well.

India, however did not give in and in the 34th minute, Ravi Bahadur made a surging run down the left and found Partap but the striker blew his shot over the bar as the match ended goalless at halftime.

Vu Hong Viet’s side turned up the tempo in the 20th minute as they barraged their opponents with crosses into the box in the hope of finding a glimpse of space but India stayed calm and defended well.

India, however did not give in and in the 34th minute, Ravi Bahadur made a surging run down the left and found Partap but the striker blew his shot over the bar as the match ended goalless at halftime.

Both teams pushed hard in the second half but neither could break the deadlock as they battled for possession in midfield.

India, who looked more dangerous upfront, had the best opportunity to score in the 64th minute when Lalchhanhima Sailo sprung into the penalty area but Nguyen Duy foiled his attempt.

In the 64th minute, Vietnam found a rare chance as they broke free on a counter-attack but they could not get their passes together as Bibiano Fernandes’ side swarmed in to tidy up.

The match was heading to a stalemate but India had other ideas as Partap darted past defenders and earned a penalty after he was brought down by Dang Tuan Phong. The captain finally etched his name on the scoreboard after converting the penalty in the 86th minute as the young Blue Tigers earned their three points.

India U16s beat Cameroon in friendly match

NEW DELHI: The India U16 National Team registered an inspiring 2-1 victory against Cameroon U16 National Team in a Friendly match in Istanbul on Wednesday (August 22).

Ridge Melvin (1′) and Rohit Danu (20′) scored early to propel India to a comfortable lead at the half-time, though Cameroon reduced the margin in the 2nd half.

Ridge took only 30 seconds to open the scoring against the African side when he converted a sublime Vikram cross from the left.

Four minutes later, Vikram tried once again but an alert Cameroon goalkeeper collected the ball safely.

The Indian attackers continued to press hard to double the lead and they did not need to wait for more to breach the Cameroonian defence once again.

In the 20th minute, Givson floated a long ball forward and Rohit slotted it home calmly.

The Indomitable Lions tried their heart and soul to find the gap but Indian defenders contained with them until the half-time whistle.

Coach Bibiano Fernandes tweaked in his strategy in the second half having brought in Ravi Bahadur for Sailo after the hour-mark.

Cameroon attackers who were lurking inside the Indian half finally found the back of the net in the 63rd minute to dash Niraj’s hope to register a clean sheet.

Bhubaneswar who stole the show against Iraq in the recently-concluded WAFF Championship tried his luck in the 71st minute but the custodian saved the long-ranger without much fuss.

India U16 Team against Cameroon: Niraj Kumar (GK); Manish Chaudhary, Bikash Yumnam, Thoiba Singh, Shabas Ahammed; Bekey Oram, Lalchhanhima Sailo, Ridge Melvin (1′), Givson Singh; Vikram Pratap Singh, Rohit Danu (20′).

India U-16s leaves for month long preparatory tour ahead of AFC U-16 Championship

NEW DELHI: India U 16 colts will set out for a month long three-nation excursion this July to China, Thailand and Malaysia. The Indian team will play 10-12 international ties, including 7 against U16 national sides.

The July leg is marked as AIFF’s final preparation of the Indian boys ahead of the AFC U16 Championship scheduled in September 2018, Malaysia.

Indian colts, coached by Bibiano Fernandes have been training in Kolkata last 5 weeks since returning victorious from Serbia in May.

The 25-member squad and 7 support staff will now leave for Weinan city, China on June 30, 2018 to participate in four nation invitational tournament alongside the U16 national teams of DPR Korea, Thailand and host China.
India open their campaign against host China on 3rd July followed by matches against Thailand on 5th July, and DPR Korea on 7th July.

Bibiano’s boys are scheduled to take on Thailand U16 team one more time mid-July in addition to playing practice games against two local clubs when they visit the country before a week long stopover in Kuala Lampur for a friendly against Malaysian U 16 team towards the end of the tour.

The Malaysia stopover has been planned to acclimatise the squad and get get the feel of the pitch and conditions before they return for the big-ticket championship in September.

All India Football Federation has been on an effort to improve the quality of Indian football with investment into the age group scouting and building a competitive teams for continental tournaments across categories.

After India’s aspiring U 17 World Cup participation, AIFF is focused on grooming a team capable of qualifying for the FIFA events by right in future. The assembling of current India U16 team is one such vision envisaged by the Indian Federation 12 months back. With the support from Sports Authority of India, the U16 project has made satisfactory progress. Over the last 12 months, the team has shaped up well with the liking of the coach Bibiano Fernandes and have been on experiential tour having practiced and played competitive games across continents to gain experience and exposure.

On the eve of leaving for China, coach Bibiano Fernandes said, “I am fortunate to have these group of boys, majority of them being with me since U15 competitions. It has been an exciting journey for us over the last 14-16 months in preparing for AFC U16 final and I am happy to have got ample opportunities to test our mettle against quality opponents and different conditions to get the right balance in the squad.”

“We have reminded ourselves of our targets every time we have stepped on the field and the boys have worked towards it every single day.”

India has been drawn in Group C of the AFC U16 Championship alongside Iran, Vietnam and Indonesia. The AFC U16 Championship featuring 16 teams will be held from September 20th to October 7th in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A top four finish would earn India the bragging rights to play FIFA U 17 World Cup in 2019 in Peru.

Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF expressed satisfaction on the shaping up of the U16 team and progress over last 12 months.

“These are interesting days for football in India. The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports and Sports Authority of India believes in the Indian football dream. Having invaluable sport coming from the Sports Secretary and Director General SAI made AIFF’s job much easier. It ensured our coach and the boys get the best of what’s needed to gear up for the competition.”

“AFC competitions are never easy, but I am personally satisfied to see the team has come together well. As we set in for the final leg of our preparation, the July tour assumes importance with opportunities to play 7 ties against China, Thailand, Malaysia & DPR Korea U16 national sides,” Das added.

We are in process of being the best the versions of ourselves: Bibiano

NEW DELHI: The Indian U-16 National Team has gone from strength to strength in recent times. Coming off the back of winning the four-nation Tournament in Serbia where the young colts finished Champions ahead of hosts Serbia, Jordan, and Tajikistan, the team will now be participating in another four-nation Tournament, this time in China.

Besides India, the tournament in China will also feature the U-16 National Teams of DPR Korea, Thailand and hosts China. In an exclusive interview, Head Coach Bibiano Fernandes spoke at length about the team’s preparation, the AFC U-16 Championship, the significance of exposure trips, and a lot more. EXCERPTS:

How is the team shaping up for the AFC U16 Championship?

We are in the process of being the best versions of ourselves keeping in mind the goal and working hard every single day. The boys have proven their mettle in Serbia and hopefully they will keep the same focus until the championship.

How important are the exposure trips?

These trips expose and introduce our boys to different styles of football from around the world. Usually our footballers do not get an opportunity to rub shoulders with teams from say, Europe and these trips give the boys the chance to do exactly that. In addition, when we start winning games in these exposures, the confidence and self-belief in the boys increased rapidly.

I need to thank AIFF and Sports Authority of India for arranging the same for us. The boys stay indebted to them.

You will be facing tough teams in China.

We are looking forward to this test. I am much more happy when we play stronger or older age-group teams as it is always a tougher challenge. It pushes us to perform to our best levels and in the process it help us to improve on all aspects. We know it is going to be a tough challenge in China, but we are ready for it.

Will it be physically challenging?

When it comes to foreign exposure trips, it is always physically challenging and we have been working on improving our own physical aspects as well. It will be interesting to see how our boys cope with that.

We’re reaping the benefits of rigorous youth development program: Bibiano Fernandes


KATHMANDU: Having finished the AFC U-16 Qualifiers 2018 campaign on a positive note, Bibiano Fernandes, Head Coach India U-16 National Team hailed the AIFF for ‘nurturing young talents’ and supporting the youngsters ‘living their dreams from a tender age.’

“The AIFF is doing a terrific work over the years and the Academy is another example of its noteworthy jobs. Tapping on the talents across the nation and nurturing them rightly shows that we have a fool-proof strategy to scale the next level,” Bibiano commented on way back home from Nepal.

The U-16 team who are now unbeaten in 12 matches (including practice matches and official matches) are in a favourable position to qualify for the AFC U-16 Championship 2018 by virtue of finishing one of the five best second-placed teams across the continent and will be knowing their fortune only on September 29 when other U-16 Qualifiers across other venues in Asia finish.

India finished their unbeaten campaign with 5 points from 3 matches, having drawn against hosts Nepal and defending champions Iraq and beating Palestine by a whopping 3-0 margin.

“Drawing against defending champions Iraq shows our boys’ prowess and their temperament while contesting at the bigger stages,” Bibiano exuded. “I would like to thank AIFF for arranging the exposure trips to Egypt and Qatar, which have helped us immensely gauging our abilities and planning our strategies for the next matches.”

He also praised the AIFF highly for the youth development programme which has been started a decade back and the young gaffer termed it as ‘a brilliant initiative.’

“While congratulating the boys, we must not forget the AIFF’s inputs to achieve this feat. As I’m being informed, finishing AFC U-16 Qualifiers unbeaten hasn’t been very common to us but we’ve done it this time. It rightly reflects how we’re improving and I must say that we’re actually reaping the benefits of years’ rigorous youth development program which is nothing but a brilliant initiative, to say the least,” Bibiano said in one go.

“I really feel proud of my boys and they all have a bright future ahead. I foresee most of them playing for the India Senior Team in near future”, Bibiano stated.

India held goalless by Iraq in AFC U-16 Qualifiers

KATHMANDU: India were held to a goalless draw by defending Asian Champions Iraq in the AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers at the Halchowk Stadium in Kathmandu on Sunday (September 24, 2017).

Courtesy the result, an unbeaten India finished their engagements with 5 points from 3 matches and now wait for engagements in other groups to finish across other venues (all over Asia) to find out if whether they have made it to the AFC U-16 Finals by virtue of being the best second-placed Team across 10 groups.

Meanwhile, Iraq who finished their engagements with 7 points from 3 matches have already booked a ticket to the AFC U-16 Finals slated to be held next year.

Knowing that only a victory would enable them a ticket to the AFC U-16 Finals, India started on a positive note and should have surged into the lead as early as the 6th minute itself but the swift Bekey despite sneaking in from the flanks, could not get the power behind his shot and the Iraqi goalkeeper managed to save it.

The Indians played with more purpose even as the Iraqis relied on their physical superiority to seize it in the midfield.

In the 42nd minute, Vikram made another robust move but Ricky shot straight to the rival Goalkeeper as both teams headed to the interval locked goalless.

Following the restart, Bekey got perhaps the easiest chance of the match when at the hour mark, he had the rival Goalkeeper at his mercy from a hand-shaking distance. But he couldn’t finish it off.

Two minutes later, Ravi flashed another cross from the left flank but it bounced out.

Coach Bibiano Fernandes introduced the fresh pair of legs of Harpreet in the 76th minute. Six minutes later Harpreet, with a solo effort barged in but the goalkeeper wasn’t to be beaten.

India went all out thereafter but Iraq were more content to stabilise their defence as they increased numbers at the back. The Indian colts tried hard Iraq managed to hold on.

INDIA U-16: Lalbiakhlua Jongte (GK), Harpreet Singh, Moirangthem Thoiba Singh, Gurkirat Singh, Shabas Ahammed Moothedath (Samir Kerketta 69′), Lalchhanhima Sailo (Ridge Melvin 89′), Ricky John Shabong, Givson Singh Moirangthem, Bekey Oram, Ravi Bahadur Rana (Harpreet 76′), Vikram Pratap (C)

India determined to take the fight to Iraq

KATHMANDU: India U-16 team have recuperated from the ‘disappointing draw against hosts Nepal’ and the youngsters are ready for ‘the bigger challenge ahead’ now, coach Bibiano Fernandes sounded upbeat before India lock their horns with reigning AFC U-16 Champions Iraq in the final fixture of the AFC U-16 Championship 2018 Qualifiers at the Halchowk Stadium tomorrow (September 24, 2017).

“Yes, obviously boys were feeling a bit down following the draw against Nepal. We were really disappointed but now we have shifted our focus to tomorrow’s match against Iraq”, Bibiano Fernandes said.

“There has been a positive vibe amongst the boys and they’re determined to take the fight to Iraq tomorrow. Although we were left aghast last night, now, we are feeling the fire under our belly to impose a tough challenge to them.”

Meanwhile, Iraq are now cushioned at the top position of Group D with 6 points from 2 matches whereas India are 2 points shy from as many games.

“We know the match is going to be extremely crucial, not only for us but also for them. We have to keep an eye on the other groups as the calculations will prove to be pivotal in our quest to qualify for the AFC U-16 Championship 2018”, Bibiano mentioned.

There is no injury scare in the Indian camp right now and the team is fully ready for the final encounter of the AFC U-16 Qualifiers.

Bibiano further added, “The boys are in great shape and everyone is ready to give it a shot against the defending champions.”

Meanwhile, the gaffer showed his concern over holding the concentration throughout the 90 minutes which might be the key aspect in tomorrow’s clash against the mighty middle-eastern youngsters.

“We have to be at the top of our game for 90 minutes and it might be the key to get a positive result. We can’t afford to lose our concentration any time, otherwise, we might have to leave Nepal empty-handed”, Bibiano sounded cautious.

The match is scheduled to kick-off at 11:45 AM IST.

India U16s aim to continue winning momentum against Nepal


KATHMANDU: After an impressive three-nil victory against a strong Palestine in the first match of AFC U-16 Qualifiers, India U-16 stay cautious in their approach when they take on hosts Nepal at the Halchowk Stadium on Friday (September 22, 2017).

“There’s no room for complacency,” Coach Bibiano Fernandes said. “Nepal are a strong side and we know each other with both teams having played in the recently concluded U-15 SAFF Championship final,” he added. “They will be backed by a partisan crowd and it will be a challenge for us.”

“Everybody saw what we’re capable of but we can’t afford to be complacent,” he reiterated. “We had an ideal start in the tournament but the target is far away. We aim to continue the winning momentum and prefer to take one match at a time,” he stated.

Bibiano also mentioned that India won’t start as the favourites even after getting better of their rivals twice in the recently-concluded SAFF U-15 Championship. “We won’t have any advantage over Nepal. Although we beat them twice recently, it won’t have any effect on tomorrow’s game and everyone should start afresh.”

He vented his confidence on his squad and showed his faith for “creating quite a few opportunities against Palestine.”

“At times we were shaky the other day but at the end of the game, we won the game convincingly. I have full faith in my squad who have created so many opportunities throughout the game.”

Meanwhile, Nepalese coach Sunil Kumar Shrestha showed his utmost respect for the Indian side. “India have been going through a good phase right now and they were clearly the deserving champions in the SAFF U-15 Championship,” Shrestha mentioned. “We will try to play our natural football to spoil their party tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, Nepal went down fighting by a solitary goal to Iraq in their first match of the Group D.

The match between Nepal and India is scheduled to kick-off at IST 3.30pm.