India U-16 team heads to Italy for exposure trip

In Italy, the team will be participating in the MU-15 Championship against USA, Mexico and Slovenia.

The Indian U-16 football team will play against age group teams of USA, Mexico, and Slovenia in Italy.   -  AIFF

The Indian junior national team departed for an exposure trip to Italy, where it will be playing against USA, Mexico, and Slovenia. The exposure trip is part of the team's preparations for the AFC U-16 Qualifiers under coach Bibiano Fernandes.

In Italy, the team will be participating in the MU-15 Championship.

The team was a match away from a direct qualification into the FIFA U-17 World Cup, but eventually went down to Korea Republic by a solitary goal.

“We had good success with the previous batch, and are looking to build a similar setup this time too,” Bibiano said.

“USA, Mexico, and Slovenia are big teams. It will be good for the boys to play against such developed sides. We conducted trials throughout the country and scouted boys from different parts like Kohlapur, Goa, Kerala, Mizoram, Manipur,” he added.

The coach believes that although his team is shaping up well, the boys still need to work on their basics.

“We still have to work on the basics on a few areas. But the boys are learning quickly,” said Bibiano.

“From having the previous team to building a new one, it’s been quite a learning curve for me as a coach as well.”

Six boys from last season’s U-16 team including Rohit Danu, Vikram Partap Singh, Gurkirat Singh were part of Indian Arrows’ I-League campaign in the 2018-19 season. Danu went on to score four goals, becoming the youngest-ever goal-scorer in I-League history, while Vikram netted one.

India's schedule:

April 28: USA vs India

April 29: Mexico vs India

April 30: Slovenia vs India.

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