Hosting the FIFA U-17 World Cup this year, India throws open its gates to the global football fraternity. The air is thick with fervour and anticipation as the boys prepare to take on the world. Let’s run through everything you need to know about our Indian Colts and bring you up to speed!
1.Introducing the team
The India U-17 Team is
•Better known as the Indian Colts or Blue Cubs
•And best known for long balls and quick wing-play
With Luís Norton de Matos as the coach, the team is preparing with gusto, to participate in the FIFA-organised world tournament.
2.Past achievements & accolades
The Indian Colts have participated in the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) U-16 seven times, even progressing to the quarter finals once in 2002.
They’ve also brought home silver in the 2013 South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) U-16 Championship in Nepal.
3.The home advantage?
Coach Matos dismisses all talk about the team having the home advantage. He believes the other teams are practising well and getting accustomed to our weather conditions. Even with the odds of winning stacked against the team, the coach and our U-17 side are confident for the tournament and ready to give it their all!
4.The coach speaks
When India managed a draw against Chile in the recently-held Torneo de 4 Naciones Tournament tour, Chile Coach Hernan Caputto said that the Indian Colts are a competitive lot who will do well under the guidance of Coach Matos.
5.Meet the boys
The part we’ve all been waiting for! Let’s get acquainted with three key players.
•Skipper Suresh Singh Wangjam – The Manipur-born skipper plays from midfield. One look at his calm demeanour on the field and you'll know he’s a natural leader.
•Aniket Jadhav – He started playing at a tender age of 14. The striker sure knows how to lead by example and is one of Matos' most trusted men. He has his sights set on being India’s most reliable goal machine.
•Anwar Ali – He couldn’t make it on the team earlier but was probably destined to be a part all the same. Not being able to make the cut during Nicolai Adam’s tenure, he caught Matos’ eye this time ‘round and has been a strong presence at the back, ever since.
This time ‘round, 24 countries from six confederations will be competing, and matches will be hosted in six cities across the country. We’re all praying the team gives its rivals tough competition in the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017.
The journey’s been tough and there’s still a long way to go, but the boys are determined to chase their dreams.
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