India U-16 boys gear up for Nepal test

India wouldn’t start as the favourite even after getting the better of its rivals twice in the recently concluded SAFF U-15 Championship, says coach Bibiano Fernandes.

After an impressive 3-0 win against a strong Palestine in the first match of AFC U-16 Qualifiers, India U-16 team will meet Nepal on Friday.   -  REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE

After an impressive 3-0 win against a strong Palestine in the first match of AFC U-16 Qualifiers, India U-16 stay cautious in its approach when it takes on hosts Nepal at the Halchowk Stadium in Kathmandu on Friday.

“There's no room for complacency,” coach Bibiano Fernandes said. “Nepal is a strong side and we know each other with both teams having played in the recently concluded U-15 SAFF Championship final,” he added. “They will be backed by a partisan crowd and it will be a challenge for us.”

"Everybody saw what we're capable of but we can't afford to be complacent,” he reiterated. “We had an ideal start in the tournament but the target is far away. We aim to continue the winning momentum and prefer to take one match at a time,” he stated.

Bibiano also mentioned that India wouldn’t start as the favourite even after getting the better of its rivals twice in the recently concluded SAFF U-15 Championship. "We won't have any advantage over Nepal. Although we beat them twice recently, it won't have any effect on tomorrow's game and everyone should start afresh."

He vented his confidence on his squad and showed his faith for “creating quite a few opportunities against Palestine.”

"At times we were shaky the other day but at the end of the game, we won the game convincingly. I have full faith in my squad who have created so many opportunities throughout the game."

Meanwhile, Nepalese coach Sunil Kumar Shrestha showed his respect for the Indian side. “India have been going through a good phase right now and they were clearly the deserving champions in the SAFF U-15 Championship,” Shrestha mentioned. "We will try to play our natural football to spoil their party tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, Nepal went down fighting by a solitary goal to Iraq in its first match of the Group D.

The match between Nepal and India is scheduled to kick-off at IST 3.30pm.

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