India U-16 pitted against Iraq, Japan at WAFF Championship

The WAFF Championship will serve as a preparatory tournament for the Indian U-16s for the AFC U-16 Championship in September.

Playing Iraq, the defending champion from 2016 U-16 Championship, will help the India U-16s.   -  AIFF

The Indian U-16 National Team will be locking horns with defending AFC U-16 champion Iraq, Asian powerhouse Japan, a strong Jordan and Yemen in the 5 WAFF U-16 Boys Championship slated to be held at the King Abdullah II International Stadium in Jordan from August 1.

The exposure tour has been arranged by All India Football Federation in coordination with the Sports Authority of India, aiming at providing a “fool-proof” preparation to the U-16 boys who play in the AFC U-16 Championship Malaysia 2018 in September.

The tournament in Jordan comes on the back of the team’s exposure tours to China, Thailand and Malaysia where the boys played six matches against U-16 National Teams and more against Club sides since July.

Read: Constantine backtracks after criticising U-17 WC performance

National Team Director Abhishek Yadav stated that the primary objective was the provide the team matches against sides who have qualified for the AFC U-16 Championship.

“The U16 WAFF Championship has teams which have qualified for the 2018 AFC U-16 Championship. We are entering the last phase of preparation and one of our key targets since January was to give the coach an opportunity to play against teams who have qualified for the 2018 Championship. If all goes as per plan in August, we would have played against half the Championship-qualified teams at least once,” Yadav, who has captained the Indian Senior National Team, said.

"The significance of this tournament lies in the fact that it brings together teams qualified for the 2018 AFC U16 Championship, all in their last leg of preparations,” Yadav maintained.

“Our boys will get a chance to play Iraq, the U-16 defending champions. That doesn’t happen every day. On top of it, we will also be playing Japan, perhaps the best U-16 Team in Asia.”

“We have to thank WAFF for inviting us in what is essentially a tournament for West Asian national teams. I have mentioned earlier that we are working intently on improving existing relations to ensure the best possible opportunities for our male and female teams."

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