The India U-17 Men’s National Team will look to carry on its winning momentum in its second match of the AFC U-17 Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers, where it takes on Kuwait in Al Khobar.
The India U-17 got off its qualifying campaign in Group D to a flying start with a 5-0 win over the Maldives in its first match. However, Kuwait will be a much more difficult prospect for the Indian youngsters, feels head coach Bibiano Fernandes.
“We have seen Kuwait play in their last two matches, and they are certainly a much stronger team than Maldives. They have certain key players as well, who are very good at their respective roles, and can really hurt us if we let them. I feel it will be a much closer game for us, but we are confident in our own abilities,” said Fernandes.
Having played one match so far, India is placed third behind Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, in a group that also consists of Myanmar and Maldives, respectively. The top team in each of the 10 groups, along with the six best second-placed teams will make it to the AFC U-17 Asian Cup 2023.
“Everyone may be talking about different equations, but it is really quite simple, the way I see it. You just go out there and try to win every game and finish top of the group,” Fernandes quipped. “One must always aim high and then see where the tide takes him from there.”
The Indians may have had a strong start, but so have their closest rivals in the group, Kuwait and host Saudi Arabia. While Kuwait has won 6-0 and 1-0 against the Maldives and Myanmar, Saudi Arabia has defeated Myanmar 6-0 in its only match so far. Fernandes warned his boys against complacency after a strong start.
“I want to thank the Almighty and everyone who supported us and sent their kind messages. But this is no time to rest on the laurels. It is just a start, and we have three more matches to go,” he said. “The confidence we got from that win was important, and so were the three points, but now it’s time to focus on the upcoming games.”
India will play Kuwait in its second match of the AFC U-17 Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers at midnight (IST) on October 6 at the Prince Saud Bin Jalawi Sports City Stadium in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia. The match will be streamed live on the Indian Football YouTube Channel.