We will play to win, says India's U-17 football coach
The FIFA U-17 World Cup is almost upon us with India getting ready to host the first ever FIFA World Cup tournament. Indian U-17 football coach Luis Norton de Matos believes that this World Cup is a step forward for the future and that the players will give their best to win the matches. He added that Indian people will be proud of them.
FIFA U-17 World Cup is a biennial youth football competition which has been held since its inaugural edition in 1985. The 2015 U-17 tournament's winners Nigeria failed to qualify for the 2017 U-17 World Cup. 24 teams will take part in the 2017 edition which will take place from 6th-28th October, across six Indian cities- Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Kochi, Guwahati and Kolkata.
Playing as the host nation, the 17th edition of FIFA U-17 World Cup is the first time Indian team is set to make an appearance in the tournament. Two other countries are making their maiden appearance include, Niger and New Caledonia. Interestingly, India didn't even have an U-17 side before the tournament was awarded to India for hosting by FIFA.
The hosts have been drawn in Group A and will face USA in their opener on 6th October at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi.
The 21-member Indian squad includes : Goal Keepers - Dheeraj Singh, Prabhsukhan Gill, Sunny Dhaliwal; Defenders - Anwar Ali, Boris Singh, Hendry Antonay, Jitendra Singh, Namit Deshpande, Sanjeev Stalin; Midfielders - Abhijit Sarkar, Amarjit Singh Kiyam (Captain), Jeakson Singh, Komal Thatal, Lalengmawia, Md. Shahjahan, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Nongdamba Naorem, Rahul Kannoly Praveen, Suresh Singh; Striker - Aniket Jadhav, Rahim Ali.
The 24 competing teams are drawn into 6 groups of A-F, with four teams each, at the Group Stage level of the competition. This includes: GROUP A - India, USA, Colombia, Ghana; GROUP B - Paraguay, Mali, New Zealand, Turkey; GROUP C - Iran, Guinea, Germany, Costa Rica; GROUP D - North Korea, Niger, Brazil, Spain.
Group E - Honduras, Japan, New Caledonia, France; Group F- Iraq, Mexico, Chile, England. Top two teams teams from each group and four best third-placed teams will advance to Round of 16. Eight of them qualify for QF, and so on till final.