India U-16 boys to play four-nation tournament in Serbia

AIFF has arranged for exposure trips to Serbia for India's U-16 team in a bid to help its preparation for the AFC U-16 finals in Malaysia.

India U-16 team will be competing in the finals of the AFC U-16 championship.   -  AIFF Media

 

The All India Football Federation has arranged exposure trips for the Indian U-16 team in Serbia involving the host nation, Jordan and Tajikistan in May.

The tour to Serbia comes after the boys had earlier played in Qatar, Hong Kong and in Spain.

In March, the U-16 colts played the U-16 National teams of United States of America and Norway in the Sportchain International Friendlies.

The exposure trips are aimed at preparation for the team's participation in the upcoming AFC U-16 finals in Malaysia later this year. India has been clubbed with current runners-up Islamic Republic of Iran, Vietnam and Indonesia in Group C in the Championship.

Significantly enough with both Jordan and Tajikistan having also qualified for the AFC U-16 Finals, head coach Bibiano Fernandes feels it’s a “marvellous opportunity before the real test.”

"This four-nation tournament is an extremely helpful project for us before the real test in September. It will help us gauge ourselves where we stand against the likes of Jordan, Tajikistan and, of course, Serbia. It will help us assert the areas which we need to plug in,” he told AIFF's website.

Referring to his team’s matches against a strong USA and Norway, Bibiano stated the “boys have shown their mettle against them.”

"The USA and Norway are much-respected footballing nations across the world. But, the boys played their hearts out. They look in good shape and are hungry to achieve more,” he added.

India suffered two narrow 0-1 defeats to the USA before going down 1-3 to Norway in the Sportchain Friendlies.

India’s fixtures in the U-16 four-nation tournament in Serbia is as follows:

May 9, 2018: India vs Jordan (IST 1930hrs).

May 11, 2018: Serbia vs India (IST 2230hrs).

May 13, 2018: Tajikistan vs India (IST 1930hrs).