India U-16 coach hails self belief after WAFF C’ship success

With victories over Jordan, Iraq and Yemen, the team finished the tourney with nine points from four matches.

Bibiano Fernandes..."The biggest challenge now is to keep the team focused and hungry for success." Photo: AIFF

India U-16 head coach Bibiano Fernandes hailed the team's self belief after its successful outing at the WAFF U-16 championship. India defeated Jordan, Iraq and Yemen, and suffered its only defeat of the tourney at the hands of Japan.

Fernandes praised his wards after they finished their engagements in Amman, Jordan. “We have now learnt how to come back and win games, especially after a defeat. We have been continuously believing in ourselves,” he told AIFF.

“We had been conceding late goals in our previous matches in China, Thailand and Malaysia. The team was pushing hard for a winner in the dying stages but on this tour, we converted our chances, leaving us in a much more comfortable position to defend and keep clean sheets,” he added.

‘Extremely special’ Iraq victory

Fernandes termed the win against Iraq — the first by an Indian team at any level — as “extremely special.”

He said, “The hard-fought victory against Iraq was extremely special. The 93rd-minute winner is something that will stay with us. The biggest challenge now is to keep the team focused and hungry for success.”

This exposure is part of a build-up towards the AFC U-16 Championship to be played in Kuala Lumpur from September 20. The four semifinalists in the Championship will qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2019.

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