FIFA U-17 World Cup: India carry a billion plus people’s expectations | fifa u17 world cup 2017 | Hindustan Times
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FIFA U-17 World Cup: India carry a billion plus people’s expectations

India will make its debut at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in the 2017 edition. This is the first time that they are taking part in the final round of any major FIFA tournament

fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Sep 30, 2017 15:08 IST
Sayan Ghosh
The Indian football team qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup as hosts.
The Indian football team qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup as hosts.(AIFF)

This will be the first U-17 World Cup for India and this will also be the first time that they are taking part in the final round of any major FIFA tournament. They have taken part in the AFC U-16 Championship seven times and in 2002, they were able to reach the quarter-final stage before losing to eventual champions, Republic of Korea. The only piece of silverware India have ever won is the 2013 South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) U-16 Championship in Nepal where they defeated the hosts in the final.

READ | FIFA U-17 World Cup: India’s group games moved from Mumbai to Delhi

QUALIFICATION

India were granted direct qualification as hosts. Azerbaijan, Ireland and Uzbekistan were their competitors when it came to the bidding process but India were awarded the opportunity.

COACH: Luís Norton de Matos

Luís Norton de Matos, 63, was appointed as coach after Nicolai Adam was sacked in February 2017.The former SL Benfica ‘B’ coach played for the Portuguese giants and for Standard Liege in Belgium. As a coach, he has been instrumental in developing stars such as Renato Sanches, Goncalo Guedes and latest Manchester United signing Victor Lindelof during his time at Seixal, Portugal. Later, he managed Vitoria de Setubal and Sporting Clube de Portugal before taking the reins of Guinea-Bissau’s national team.

PAST PERFORMANCE: This is the first time India are playing this tournament and they are doing so by virtue of being hosts.

POSSIBLE GAME-CHANGERS

Aniket Jadhav

Age: 17

Club: None

Position: Midfielder

Why he is special: The wide medio from Kolhapur, Maharashtra, who can also play as striker, came into the limelight as a 14-year-old when he played for India in the FC Bayern Munich Youth Cup in 2014. He has been part of the national side ever since and, thanks to his brilliant goal-scoring talent, he will be an important asset to his team.

Komal Thatal

Age: 17

Club: None

Position: Midfielder

Why he is special: The midfielder from Sikkim is one of the rising stars and his goal against Brazil in BRICs U 17 Tournament made pundits take notice. He is well known for his ball control and he will be responsible for assisting the Indian forwards.

Anwar Ali

Age: 17

Club: Minerva Punjab academy

Position: Defender

Why he is special: The defender was a late addition to the India U-17 side but has adapted well. He caught De Matos’ eye while playing for the Minerva Academy side and his performance in the last couple of games will surely be a welcome sight for Indian football fans.