Tag: India U16 National Team

Current U16 Crop much better than what we were at their age, states Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

NEW DELHI: There has been a lot of attention on the Indian U-16 national team, especially with the exposure tours they have had. The colts being coached by Bibiano Fernandes have played 20 international friendlies against U-16 national teams since January 2018 and are presently gearing up for the AFC U-16 Championship Malaysia 2018, which kicks-off in Kuala Lumpur from September 20.

We spoke to senior national team goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who has been a part of the Indian U-16 teams in the past and he feels the current crop are a whole lot better than what Sandhu and co used to be at their age. EXCERPTS:

You have represented India at AFC U-16 level? How were those days?

Every single day we would learn something new about the game. There was hunger to grow and evolve as better players. That was the first time we started to receive good coaching.

Let us know about your days at AIFF Academy.

Those were the days where I was still wondering if I will ever be a professional. Those were the days when I connected with the game and learnt about Indian football at large.

In comparison to previous batches, the current U-16 crop has been getting a lot of international exposure. Does that make you jealous?

(Laughs) I would say, maybe a bit (laugh again). Jokes apart, it’s a very positive development. If we would have that much exposure what they have been receiving at the moment, who knows things would have been much different. They are very lucky and need to make the most of it.

 

But overall, I’m very happy that they are getting such opportunities and that youth football is being taken so seriously. After all, they are our future.

Did you get any chance to have a look at them in any of the matches live streamed?

I have watched some of the highlights of their games. It is clear that quality wise, these boys are much better than what we used to be at that age. It makes me feel very proud. Things are changing and I am pretty positive.

There are quite a lot of boys in the U-16 team who idolise you.

I am humbled that they see me worthy of this. I am just a normal player who is trying to contribute to Indian football as much as I can. We are all part of one big family.

The U-16 boys are playing Vietnam, Iran and Indonesia at the group stage. What would be your message to them?

I would like them to be humble and stay united as a team. When you go in as a team, you can do things which no one can ever imagine. I hope they win these games and make us proud. Good luck boys!

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′).