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Fri , 17 Nov 2017



South Asian Games 2016 - India U-23 Football team ready to take on Sri Lanka U-23

 NEW DELHI: A day prior to the Indian Men’s opening match against Sri Lanka in the South Asian Games, Head Coach Lee Johnson mentions that the “boys want to capitalize” on the Indian Senior Team’s success in the SAFF Suzuki Cup.

 
Though as per the rules, the Tournament is an U-23 one with three overage Players allowed (as per rules of the Asian Games), the Indian squad will be fielding only two overage Players while all the rest and below 23 including three Players who are U-19.
 
In a freewheeling chat with www.the-aiff.com, Johnson speaks about the U-19 Players, preparations, the mood, India’s opponents and much more. EXCERPTS:
 
How much is the importance of the first match?
 
We hope for a win and get the ball rolling.
 
How have your preparations been?
 
We didn’t have much time with the Players but from as and when we assembled, we have gone well in terms of training. We have trimmed the squad to 20 Players on basis of Players which we had available with us.
 
How’s the mood in the Camp?
 
The boys want to capitalize on the recent success of the Senior Team where they had gone to win the SAFF Suzuki Cup. Some of them were part of the triumph, and there are also some who have played for the Senior Team in the recent past. As individuals, they all want to do well and everyone is positive and confident.
 
How much of the SAFF Triumph will transpire down to the squad?
 
It was obviously a great experience for those who were involved in the SAFF Suzuki Cup. They played some exceptional Football and ended as Champions. Having tasted success, it makes them confident. Now it’s important for them to impart their experience onto the juniors and their contemporaries. That’s pertinent for success at all levels. Their experience, I feel, should help us.
 
You have incorporated three U-19 Players in the squad.
 
The Players are there on merit and bring value addition to the squad. In International Football, it is simple – if you are not good enough, you won’t be there. It’s a good opportunity to develop younger Players.
 
What’s your take on India’s opponents in the first game – Sri Lanka?
 
In International Football, you cannot take any Team lightly. We respect them as a Team as much we believe they will respect us as a Team. The Players need to stay focused. The weather here is so much conducive for Football.
 
The kick-off against Sri Lanka on February 6, 2016 is at 2pm.
 
The 20-Member squad stays as follows:
 
GOALKEEPERS: Kamaljit Singh, Rehenesh TP, Laxmikant Kattimani.
 
DEFENDERS: Bikramjit Singh, Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhingan, Salam Ranjan Singh, Kaushik Sarkar, Narayan Das, Samad Ali Mallick.
 
MIDFIELDERS: Vinit Rai, Lallianzuala Changte (both U-19 Players), Rowlin Borges, Jayesh Rane, Germanpreet Singh, Udanta Singh.
 
FORWARDS: Jerry Mawihmingthanga (U-19 Player), Sumeet Passi, Amoes T, Holicharan Narzary.
 

Courtesy- AIFF Media