Bibiano Fernandes, the head coach of India’s U-16 football team, has cautioned his side not to get too complacent ahead of the AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers contest against Bahrain.
The Indian team has won 12 matches in a row, the latest a 5-0 thrashing of Turkmenistan on the opening day of the qualifiers. Currently, India is on top of the group with three points, and is ahead of host Uzbekistan by virtue of goal difference.
“There is a very fine line between confidence and complacency. Yes, we have won 12 matches in a row, but we also need to be careful that we do not get complacent, especially at this stage,” Fernandes said.
“The AFC Qualifiers is what we have been working towards over the course of the year. A bad 90 minutes can ruin all the hard work that the players and the coaching staff has put in over the course of the last few months,” he added.
Bibiano expressed satisfaction in witnessing his team’s “winning habit.”
“Winning is a habit, and it has become a good habit for us. I am glad that my boys are putting up good results one after the other, but this is not the time to think about that. Right now, we have to put our heads down, keep working hard, and push through the group to ensure qualification for the AFC U-16 Championship next year,” he said.
According to Bibiano, Bahrain has the capability of making late comebacks.
‘Need to be on guard’
“Bahrain are a strong side. I watched their match against Uzbekistan. They may have lost the game 1-3, but they actually gave Uzbekistan a good run for their money for most of the time. They could even have secured a point from the game. They were down 1-2 down in the last few minutes, and won a penalty which they missed. They are a side that never gives up. Uzbekistan tried to dominate, but they defended well. We can see that they have come to win as well, so we would need to be on our guard,” he said.
The contest will be held on September 20, at the Transportation Institute Stadium, Tashkent, at 4.30pm IST.
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