8/28/2018 9:25:30 PM (GMT+3)

India U20 football team to take part in Croatia tournament

India U20 football team to take part in Croatia tournament

MARGAO, Goa: India’s Under-20 footballers will travel to Croatia to participate in a six-day friendly tournament, which is also a part of their preparation for next month’s AFC U19 Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The tournament, which will feature France, Slovenia and the hosts, will be held from September 4-9.

The team, coached by Floyd Pinto, is currently going through the grinds at the Sport Authority of Goa’s Artificial turf ground in Fatorda.

“The Cottif tournament in Spain helped us to analyse our weaknesses. If we continue to play like what we did in Spain, we stand a good chance to do well against Croatia, France and Slovenia in the friendly tournament,” said Pinto. “It will be a tough task, but I am sure that the boys will continue with the same zeal like in Spain.”

Some of these players are from the same core group which played in the FIFA U17 World Cup last year.

“Most of these boys are from the U17 World Cup team. At least, 10 of them are on trials and five will be shortlisted,” he added.

The U20 squad has next year’s AFC U19 qualifiers on the radar and such foreign exposures will help them in the build-up for the continental championship.

“We began our trainings in August and this tour will help us a lot.

But the focus will be on the next year’s qualifiers and I-league. The boys need more matches and exposure trips,” said Pinto.

In fact, the Pinto’s boys will be looking to consolidate their impressive performance in Spain where they defeated eventual champions Argentina 2-1 in a group match.

“We’ll be facing top sides in Croatia. Let’s see how they cope up with the pressure. But irrespective of the results, it’s going to be a good learning process for them,” said Pinto