India U-19 National football team will be travelling to Qatar to play in AFC U19 Championship Qualifiers. India U-19 National Football team has been preparing over a year for the qualifiers in Elite Football Academy of AIFF in Goa. India will compete against Host Qatar, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Nepal in Group A. The qualifiers will start from 4th October 2013.
India U-19 National Football team under the Englishmen Colin Toal had decent results in few friendlies the team played. India U-19 teams in past had many failed attempts to get qualified into the main draw in the last few years. This Indian team has the majority of players who had previously successfully qualified in the AFC U-16 Championship and we can expect a decent result from this bunch of boys.
Goalkeepers: Chinmaya Sekhar Behera, Supratim Bhattacharjee, Vishal Kaith
Chinmaya Sekhar Behera will be the 1st choice goalkeeper for team India. Physically tall and strong custodian did will be an important figure for India. He will have to use his physical advantage against physically stronger Qatar and Uzbekistan side and if is able to perform well than half battle will be won by India. Supratim Bhattacharjee has played in all age group teams in India. He was a member of the team which qualified for the AFC U-16 Championship. The youngster is very agile and known for his leadership at the back. Vishal Kaith will be third goalkeeper for India and will be good cover for Chimaya and Supratim.
Defenders: Gurba Gangri, Nim Dorjee Tamang, Pawan Kumar, Sajid Dhot, Sobaisam Pritam Kumar Singh, Sarthak Goloi, Rupert Lalmang Nongrum
Sajid Dhot and Sarthak Goloi have been part of the AIFF setup for quite some time now. Both the defenders are strong and are accomplished to stop rival strikers. Their physical strength and height give them an edge. Nim Dorjee Tamang and Rupert Lalmang Nongrum are two Shillong Lajong youth products. Both have given some superb performances in U-20 I-League last season. The performances has helped them earn a spot in the team. The Shillong Boys played in a couple of friendlies for U-19 team and gave a good account of them. Both of them will definitely play a key role in the success of the team.
Garba Gagri is a Tata Football Academy product who has shown promise. His tackles and ability to slow down the game will come handy in crunch situations. Pawan Kumar and Sobaisam Pritam Kumar Singh may not get a game at the start but both are more than handy if their services are needed.
Midfielders: Souvik Das, Joseph Lalfakzuala, Germanpreet Singh, Lalaranzuan Khiangte, Allen Deory, Issac Vanmalswama, Fanai Lalrempuia
Pune football club academy product Fanai Lalrempui is certainly oneof the players to watch out. The 17 year old midfielder made his I-League debut last season for his club. The Center midfielder is very creative and will feed a number of balls to strikers up front. Germanpreet Singh and Allen Deory have made a name for themselves playing in friendlies. The two midfielders are known for their pace and dribbling abilities and they will certainly be gunning to put in impressive performances.
Lalranzuava Khagte is one the top rated player of Shillong Lajong youth system. The midfielder is taunted to be the next big thing at the club. The midfielder will hope to live up to the promise and give an excellent performance. Issac Vanmalswama have impressed with his play at U-16 level. He was one of the key players at U-16 level. He will though have to wait for his chances at U-19 level.
Forwards: Uttam Rai, Udanta Singh, SK Faiz, Daniel Lalhlimpua, Naro Hari Shreshta, Shaiborlang Kharpan
The forward line up is one of the key strengths of India U-19 football team. There are lots of proven talented players in the lineup. It will be hard for Colin Toal to select players from this group of players. Uttam Rai and Daniel Lalhmlimpuia were in sensational form two years back in AFC U-16 qualifiers. The strikers were the reason for the team to qualify for the main draw of the competition. There will lot of expectations of the fans from these two talented strikers.
Udanta Singh is another talent who is known for his deadly pace and eye for the goal. The 17 year old striker will be keen to prove his worth in upcoming qualifiers. His pace will be his biggest advantage and defenders really have to be on their toes against him. SK Faiz and Naro Hari Shreshta are two strikers who impressed everyone in friendlies against the clubs. The strikers were quick to get on score sheet whenever they got the chances. These two will be another option which Colin Toal has.
Head Coach: Colin Toal
Assistant Coach: Francisco Brito Da Costa, Bitan Singh.
Goalkeeping Coach: Hameed KK
General Manager: Rahul Parashar.
Physio: Akshay Sawant.
Qatar (4th October 2013): India will play against host Qatar in opening match of the qualifiers. Qatar is one the fastest improving nations in football. Even though Qatar had mediocre performance at age group level in Asia, the team will certainly be a tough nut to crack on their home soil. The Qatar colts are managed by Dutch coach Marcel Van Buuren.
Nepal (6th October 2013): South Asian team has surprised everyone in U-16 qualifiers recently held by qualifying into the main draw of the AFC U-16 Championship, Thailand. Nepal with their recent improvement in the football certainly will be no pushover. Nepal is the weakest team in the group but India should not do mistake to take them lightly.
Uzbekistan (10th October 2013): Asian powerhouse Uzbekistan is the clear favourite of the group. The Central Asian team was a semifinalist in the last edition of the AFC U-19 Championship. The team’ s recent form has however not been satisfactory.
Turkmenistan (12th October 2013): India has dominated Turkmenistan lately at various age group levels. Even if Turkmenistan is one of the weakest team in the group they could spoil the chances of one of the team in a group on their day.
India will have to play brilliantly throughout the qualifiers to get into the main draw of the AFC U-19 Championship. The biggest roadblock would be Qatar and Uzbekistan. If India could earn one win over their fancied Arab giants then they could go through the main draw of the AFC U-19 Championship. The opening match against Qatar will be a very important match as it will set the tone for the rest of the qualifiers.