India U-19 to meet host Russia, Bulgaria in Granatkin Memorial tournament

India has been clubbed in Group A with host Russia, Bulgaria, and Moldova. Argentina, Greece and Iran are some of the other participating teams.

File Photo: The India U-19 team is grouped alongside Russia, Bulgaria and Moldova in group A.   -  AP

The India U-19 national team will travel to Russia in the first week of June to take part in the Granatkin Memorial International Football Tournament in St. Petersberg.

The 12 teams in the tournament have been divided into three groups. India has been clubbed in Group A with host Russia, Bulgaria, and Moldova. Argentina, Armenia, Turkey, Greece, Iran, Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan are some of the other participating teams.

Head coach Floyd Pinto sees the tournament as a "small but important part" of India's preparation.

"This is going to be the first tournament where all of these boys will play as a collective unit. We are trying to have a close look at how the boys are going to take the challenge against such high-quality oppositions like Russia, Bulgaria, and Mondova,” he stated.

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He added: "We are very excited because this is our first chance of playing some International matches. This is a small but very important part of preparation ahead of the AFC U-19 Qualifiers in November."

With a few boys already having played in the previous edition of the tournament, Pinto feels “their experience will come in handy.”

"I'm sure the boys who played last year will help the team settle down in a much better fashion. The experience will help us be better prepared than we were in the last edition,” he explained.

All matches will be played at the iconic Petrovsky Stadium - the former home stadium of both the Russian National Team and Zenit St. Petersberg.

India's 30-member squad:

Goalkeepers: Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, Aryan Niraj Lamba, Raj Kumar Mahato, Sachin Ammanath Suresh, Niraj Kumar, Lalbiakhlua Jongte.

Defenders: Vanlalnghenga, Hormipam Mishra, Akash Mishra, Muhammed Rafi, Sumit Rathi, Shabas Ahammed, Moothedath, Gurkirat Singh, Narender, Jitendra Singh, Sanjeev Stalin.

Midfielders: Jeakson Singh Thounaojam, Ninthoinganba Meetei Khumanthem, Givson Singh Moirangthem, Vikram Partap Singh, Ricky John Shabong, Lalchhanhima Sailo, Sanoop Chandran, Muhammed Basith Parathodi, Robin Yadav.

Strikers: Harmanpreet Singh, Rohit Danu, Haokip Luntinmang, Ridge Melvin Demello, Lalthanmawia Renthlei.

India's schedule:

June 4: India vs Russia (IST 8.30pm).

June 6: India vs Moldova (IST 2.30pm).

June 9: India vs Bulgaria (IST 2.30PM).