Panaji Sep 13 (IANS) India’s Under-17 football team head coach Nicolai Adam has brushed aside talk of Group A being dubbed as the Group of Death in the Asia U-16 Championship starting on Thursday.
India have been clubbed with Iran, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. “I would rather want to rephrase it. No Group is a ‘Group of Death’ for us,” Adam told www.the-aiff.com.
“On the contrary it is a big step forward towards preparation for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017. I have always wanted to play strong Teams — the better the opponent the faster is the development of the players,” the German tactician added.
“I consider the ‘Group of Death’ as just a terminology. If we call this a ‘Group of Death,’ what will we be labelling teams when we get the draw for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017? All Teams into this Championship (AFC U-16 Championship 2016) have qualified on merit. We will play whoever comes our way.”
The Indian colts have been plagued with injuries ahead of the big meet at home.
“We are missing Reamsochung Aimol who had to undergo two surgeries in Germany including one on his broken shin. So on that front, we are struggling a lot and it came at the wrong time. Ninthoi had to be hospitalized for an inflamed appendix and though he is back, ideally, we would have not wanted it to happen at this time,” Nicolai said.
On India’s target, the former Azerbaijan youth coach said: “Obviously making it to the semis stays our target but under the circumstances whether we can achieve it or not, it’s early to say.”
The AIFF Youth Cup concluded recently where India finished rock-bottom with only two draws against Malaysia and South Korea.
“It was a super one. It was great to have the Tournament in India and play against International teams. The team needs that kind of tournaments as we move forward,” Adam said.
“It was good that we didn’t need to travel abroad to play those teams and played them in Goa itself. There were lessons learnt and it was overall a very positive experience for the boys.”