A packed international schedule awaits the Indian under-16 football squad but coach Nicolai Adam is not complaining as he feels it is the “best case scenario” for the squad heading into next year’s FIFA Under-17 World Cup.
Despite being assured of an automatic entry for the AFC U-16 Championship being the hosts, the Indian U-16 team would be playing in the event on basis of their qualification from the AFC U-16 Qualifiers which were held in Tabriz City, Iran in last year.
The Championship will see the top 16 U-16 teams of Asia battling for top honours with the four semifinalists gaining a ticket to the World Cup in India. Ahead of the Championship in Goa from September 15 to October 2, Adam said he couldn’t have asked for more.
“That amount of high intensity International Football at the youth level hasn’t ever happened for the Indian youth team(s). It is extremely important to have them as part of preparation for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017,” Adam told ‘aiff.com’.
“The boys need the exposure as they will be playing the World Cup. If we can get that sort of exposure in India, we take it without any complaints. It’s the best case scenario which can happen,” he said.
Asked if the boys are under pressure given that they would be playing in front of home crowd, Adam said, “Not at all! You have to be ready at the right time. When the Referee blows the whistle they have to be in the right frame of mind and do their job. When it ends, they need to relax and recover as fast as possible just like any other professional sportsperson do, and get ready for the next one. We do this day in and day out during our training so I feel it’s already a part of our process. I feel the boys are ready.”
The AFC U-16 Championship India would be followed by the BRICS Cup and Adam said it’s good for the team. “I want to remind that this is the best case scenario we can ever have. In the next four weeks we will play minimum 7 International Matches, or maybe maximum 11 International matches,” he explained.