Panaji: The 21-man squad, who would be representing India at the FIFA U-17 World Cup, has been announced. This group of 21 members is the first ever Indian squad to participate in a FIFA World Cup. India have been drawn in Group A alongside USA, Colombia and Ghana, and will face USA on October 6, followed by Colombia and Ghana on October 9 and October 12 respectively at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.
“We believe that we are prepared for the FIFA U-17 World Cup”, said head coach of the India U-17s Luis Norton de Matos. “We have worked hard and made progress, but at the same time we go directly to a high level competition against some of the best teams in the world.” “We will fight to win each match even if there is only five percent chance of winning. We will not give up and nothing is impossible in football.” “We plan to show the world that we are on the same page as them”, Matos added.
In an effort to field a strong team for the U-17 World Cup, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) provided exposure tours for the India U-17s wherein the Indian Colts faced Macedonia, Serbia and Benfica amongst other teams. The Indian Colts had also participated in a Four-Nation Tournament in Mexico where they lost against Mexico and Colombia, but held Chile to a 1-1 draw with ten-man.
“Against Chile and Macedonia we registered good results but the FIFA U-17 World Cup will be a competition and competitions are different from friendly matches”, Matos informed. “However, the level of the players is very high and we plan to give it our all once the FIFA U-17 World Cup kicks-off”, Matos quipped.
The list of the 21 selected players follows below:
Goalkeepers: Dheeraj Singh, Prabhsukhan Gill, Sunny Dhaliwal Defenders: Boris Singh, Jitendra Singh, Anwar Ali, Sanjeev Stalin, Hendry Antonay, Namit Deshpande Midfielders: Suresh Singh, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Abhijit Sarkar, Komal Thatal, Lalengmawia, Jeakson Singh, Nongdamba Naorem, Rahul Kannoly Praveen, Md. Shahjahan Forwards: Rahim Ali, Aniket Jadhav