Indian age group teams have always given a good account of themselves at junior levels, especially at U-16 level. India U-16 team last year in AFC U16, made a good impression. The new bunch of players playing for U-16 team this year will be hoping to replicate that performance. AIFF has taken good care of the U-16 team this time around. The team has been together throughout the year playing few friendlies in the meantime. The team is managed by Goutam Ghosh.

India U-16 team a couple of months back, had lifted SAFF U-16 Championship in Nepal. The triumph must have raised the morale and confidence of the players. Apart From winning the SAFF U-16 Championship, the players have performed well on the tour of the UAE. The team first beat local outfit Al Sharjah Sports Club U17 team 4-0 and held UAE U-15 National Football team in a 1-1 Draw. They will play their qualifiers in Kuwait where they are clubbed with Tajikistan, Lebanon, Bhutan and host Kuwait.

India squad:

Goalkeepers: Anuj Kumar (Uttar Pradesh), Subrata Das (West Bengal), M Dheeraj Singh (Manipur)

Defenders: M Jayananda Singh (Manipur), Jerry Lalrinzuala (Mizoram), T Kishan Singh (Manipur), Prasenjit Chakraborthy (West Bengal), Amit Tudu (West Bengal), Amey Ranawade (Maharashtra), Krishanu Santra (West Bengal).

Midfielders: Bugde Vineet Vikas (Goa), Bodo Baoringado (Assam), Kyntiew Kharlunkhi (Meghalaya), Surya Tirkey (Jharkhand), Anirudha Thapa (Uttarakhand), Deependra Singh Negi (Uttarakhand) Aaron Franklin (Goa), Laishram Bedashwor Singh (Manipur), Nuruddin (Uttar Pradesh) Hoble Kapil (Goa).

Forwards: Nijwrn Muchahary (Assam), Edmund Lalrindika (Mizoram), Krishna Pandit (Chandigarh).

Head Coach: Goutam Ghosh

Assistant Coach: Jhon Kanneth Raj.

Goalkeeper Coach: Feroz Sherriff

Physiotherapist: Somya Routh.

Team Manager: Subhashish Benerjee.

STRENGTH:

  • The players have been in the AIFF Kolkata Academy together training for over a year now. They must have gelled well with each other.
  • Technically the team is stronger than previous batches of U-16 team.
  • Gautam Ghosh had enough time to chalk down the formations and tactics for the team.
  • Playing friendlies and winning, has given confidence to the team.
  • Midfield looks very strong, the Likes of Bideshwar Singh and Nurrundin have given a good account of themselves in a few matches.
  • M. Dheeraj Singh is rock solid between the bars. He is a very agile lad and has good eccentricity. He will be very hard to get past.

WEAKNESS:

  • The team is very young and can come under pressure of expectations.
  • The team was not convincing in SAFF championship and looked shaky in a pressure situation.
  • Strikers in the team will find it difficult to play against physically stronger defenders from the Arab countries.
  • Long balls tactics which was employed for a few matches of SAFF championship might not be effective against physically stronger opponents.
  • Strikers yet to prove their worth so far, Krishna Pandit is a great talent up front but he lacks consistency.

OPPORTUNITY:

  • Bhutan and Tajikistan look weak. The team should look to score as many goals as they could against them. Goal difference will come under consideration at the end of the qualifiers.
  • Learning curve for young players to get feel of some tough competition.
  • The players and the coaching staff can gauge their improvement.
  • Playing in AFC U16 Championship will give them a chance to qualify for U-17 World Cup in 2015.
  • The boys will be able to showcase their talent on the continental level.

THREAT:

  • Weather in Kuwait is very hot and will take some time to get adjusted to the conditions.
  • Lebanon and Kuwait are strong teams. Indian team really has to play their heart out against them.
  • The conditions will be suitable for Kuwait and Lebanese side.

The Indian Colts will be well aware that if they able to win qualifiers they could be playing in slot in World Cup in 2015. AIFF will be hoping that the team able to qualify and perform well at continental level. The team has worked hard this year and will look for a positive result. The performance of the team will reflect the progress AIFF Academies have done. Indian Colts will open their campaign against Tajikistan on 21st of September in AFC U-16 Qualifiers.