India U-18 boys ready for SAFF challenge after success in Vanautu

The team heads into the tournament after an intense training camp in Bhubaneswar, and will look to build on its successful run in Vanuatu last month, where it finished on top at the OFC Youth Development Tournament.

Floyd Pinto said the SAFF Championships will help the team prepare for the AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers.   -  AIFF Media

The India U-18 side, which will begin its campaign at the SAFF U-18 Championship against Bangladesh on Monday, landed in Kathmandu on Wednesday.

The team heads into the tournament after an intense training camp in Bhubaneswar, and will look to build on its successful run in Vanuatu last month, where it finished on top at the OFC Youth Development Tournament .

Head coach Floyd Pinto said players were in the right frame of mind to carry forward the “winning momentum”.

“After the good showing in Vanuatu the mood camp is very positive. All the boys are focused and determined to take the winning momentum into the SAFF Championship. We are confident in our abilities and have prepared well. We are looking forward to the approaching the tournament with positivity and putting our best foot forward in all our games,” he said.

INDIA’S FIXTURES:

September 23: India vs Bangladesh.

September 25: India vs Sri Lanka.

September 27: Semifinals.

September 29: FINAL.

The Head Coach also spoke about how the SAFF tournament will be a "step up" after the OFC Youth Development Tournament and help his side prepare for the “acid test,” — the AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers, where India will be up against Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.

“We expect stiff competition in Nepal from every team that we will face. We were successful in Vanuatu, and SAFF will be a step up from it. Hence, we need to keep improving ourselves and play with positivity,” Floyd said.

Defender Narender Gahlot, who made his debut for the Senior National Team under head coach Igor Stimac in the Hero Intercontinental Cup 2019 is part of the India U-18 squad in Kathmandu. He scored in a 1-1 draw against Syria, and also came on as a substitute in the Blue Tigers' recent 0-0 draw away to Asian Champions Qatar.

"Having Narender join us from the senior team only adds to the experience that we currently have," said Floyd.

The upcoming edition of the SAFF U-18 Championship is the third since the tournament's inception in 2015, with Nepal winning both times in the past. India has been drawn in Group B and will open their campaign against Bangladesh on Monday, followed by Sri Lanka two days later.

India squad:
  • GOALKEEPERS: Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, Lalbiakhlua Jongte, Niraj Kumar
  • DEFENDERS: Muhammed Rafi, Jitendra Singh, Akash Mishra, Narender, Bikash Yumnam, Sumit Rathi, Moirangthem Thoiba Singh, Hormipam Ruivah
  • MIDFIELDERS: Vikram Partap Singh, Ninthoinganba Meetei Khumanthem, Tankadhar Bag, Givson Singh Moirangthem, Ricky John Shabong, Jeakson Singh Thounaojam, Ravi Bahadur Rana, Lalrampana Pautu, Vanlalruatfela Thlacheu
  • FORWARDS: Aman Chetri, Manvir Singh, Gurkirat Singh
  • HEAD COACH: Floyd Pinto

  Dugout videos