In a few days from now, India’s U-16 team will face its biggest test when it competes in the AFC U-16 Championship in Goa. The competition, which will see teams like Australia, Japan and South Korea take part, will be a test event of sorts for the young guns who will participate in the U-17 World Cup a year later.
Between the two big tournaments, the Nicolai Adam-coached team will have more foreign exposure trips as the All India Football Federation (AIFF) seeks to give them international playing experience.
It is learnt that the U-17 team will have tournaments in at least three different continents --- South America, Asia and Europe --- before the U-17 World Cup.
“I have already the whole plan in my pocket but before I make it public, I have to speak about it with my federation (AIFF) and Injeti Srinivas of the Sports Authority of India (SAI),” Adam told HT.
AIFF general secretary Kushal Das was more forthcoming.
“We have an agreement with the Brazilian club Clube Atletico Paranaense. They have invited us to come to play in an invitational tournament which they organise. Apart from our U-17 team, four or five other teams will be there, some from Europe and others from Latin America,” said Das.
The team will have a training camp in Curitiba, where the club is based, before taking part in a tournament. It will then fly to Russia at the end of December to take part in an indoor tournament, where the boys will face some top European teams.
Das added the federation was also planning to send the team for tournaments in Spain and Japan.
Adam believes the exposure trips were the right way forward.
“Exposure trips are the only way to get the team to the level where we need them to be in October 2017,” he said.