Bibiano Fernandes: ‘Our main target is AFC U-16 Finals’

The Indian colts pumped in as many as three goals in the first 10 minutes of the match to outplay Tajikistan 4-2 and emerge champion in the four-nation Under-16 Tournament, held in Serbia.

Head coach Bibiano Fernandes isn’t willing to read too much into the U-16 Indian football team’s performance at the recently-concluded four-nation International tournament in Serbia.   -  Shanker Chakravarty

Head coach Bibiano Fernandes isn’t willing to read too much into the U-16 Indian football team’s performance at the recently-concluded four-nation International tournament in Serbia and has set his eyes on the AFC U-16 Finals in Malaysia.

The Indian colts pumped in as many as three goals in the first 10 minutes of the match to outplay Tajikistan 4-2 and emerge champion in the four-nation Under-16 Tournament, held in Serbia.

“It actually doesn’t mean much as this is only the process for our main objective. We haven’t yet achieved anything much, Bibiano told AIFF.

“But yeah, I am very happy that the boys are showing great focus and hunger in the process. Our main target is the AFC U-16 Finals Malaysia 2018,” he added. The AFC U-16 Finals will be held in Malaysia from September 20 to October 7, later, in 2018.

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India defeated Jordan (2-1) and Tajikistan (4-2), both of whom have also qualified to the AFC U-16 finals before playing a goalless draw against Serbia to notch an inspirational triumph in the tournament.

The tournament was part of the series of India’s exposure tours, which are being arranged by the AIFF and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to help prepare the team in the best possible fashion for the AFC finals.

“The boys are growing in the right direction, but we’ve got a long way to go,” Bibiano cautioned. “There are so many aspects on which we need to improve tactically. These exposure tours are making the boys more confident and capable,” he said.

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