FIFA U17 World Cup: India ready to give their best in tough group - Praful Patel
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FIFA U17 World Cup: India ready to give their best in tough group - Praful Patel

India U-17 are placed in Group A with USA, Colombia and Ghana and will play all their games in New Delhi in FIFA U-17 World Cup.

football Updated: Jul 07, 2017 22:59 IST
Rajesh Pansare
Rajesh Pansare
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
FIFA U-17 World Cup,India,USA
India have been placed in Group A along with USA, Ghana and Columbia as they prepare to host the FIFA U17 World Cup for the first time.(AFP)

If India coach Luis Norton de Matos and All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel are to be believed, the Under-17 boys are is good shape -- physically and mentally -- to tackle the tough task they will face when the Fifa Under-17 World Cup kicks off in October.

India are placed in Group A with USA, Colombia and Ghana and will play their matches in New Delhi.

At the start of the year, that wasn’t the case as the players were up in arms against then coach Nicolai Adam, who was accused of physical abuse. The tipping point was during the tournament in Russia where the team performed badly. Soon after, the issue went out of control.

The German was asked to leave by Patel, following the accusations. As many as 21 players, in a letter to AIFF, had alleged the coach beat them up and terrorised them during training sessions.

AIFF did try to broker peace with Bhaichung Bhutia acting as a mediator to resolve. But the players didn’t budge and Adams was show the door.

Players positive now

On the sidelines of the official draw for the World Cup in Mumbai on Friday, Patel said that it was important for players to be happy.

“Important thing is that the players are happy. They are very excited. We don’t interfere in the process of the team selection or how the teams prepared. But we can tell you that the mindsets of the players are very positive and happy,” said Patel.

HT spoke to a couple of players at the sidelines of the event who said they were happy with the new coach, De Matos.

De Matos, who was appointed in March, felt the time he had with the team was not enough to get it ready, he was sure that the boys will try their best.

“I accept this is a challenge. Of course, it’s not so much of a time but it’s the time I’ve to work with and I don’t have to add any excuses,” said the coach. “We have to work very hard. To be competitive and in the end of each game, people should become proud of the effort of these players on the field.”

“ I have the advantage that players will be available with me which may not be the case with other federations as they will be competition,” the coach from Portugal added.

De Matos feels that it will a tough outing for India as the teams in the their group have a good pedigree in junior tournaments and have been a regular part of it.

First Published: Jul 07, 2017 22:58 IST