After India U-16 National team became champions of U16 SAFF Championship it is time of U19 team to make Indian football fans proud. Indians have often done exceptionally well at U-16 level at continental level but somehow failed to continue their performance at higher age groups. This time around Indian U-19 team whose core team is the same which played in the AFC U-16 Championship in 2012, are well prepared in the AIFF Elite academy in Goa and all set to test their skills against a China U-19 team on an exposure Tour.

The Indian U-19 National team will be travelling to China to face China U-19 National team on 17th and 19th August on an exposure tour. The tour has been organized by AIFF by keeping in mind the Under-19 AFC Championship qualifiers which will be held in Doha in the first week of October. They have already played their first match against Shanghai City Games U-19 team and the Indian lads were held to a 2-2 draw by the city team which featured 5 boys from the China U-19 National team. Daniel Lalhlimpuia scored both the goals for India in the first half as the India raced to a two goal lead. However the Shanghai City Games U-19 team bounced back to equalize.

The team will be under the guidance of Colm Toal. The Englishmen has been with the Indian age group teams for quite some time now. He knows in and out about the squad since he was in charge of the team in the AFC U-16 Championship in Tehran.

The team had played few friendlies in Goa against local clubs and had done well. They played some lovely football in all their practice matches and their improvement has been encouraging. The real test of these players will be against upcoming match against China U-19 national team which has recently returned from Germany after playing in Ruhr Cup.

India U-19 Team

26 Men Squad as Follows

Goalkeepers: Chinmaya Shekhar Behera, Kamaljit Singh, Vishal Kaith.

Defenders: Gurba Gagri, Nim Dorjee Tamang, Pawan Kumar, Sajid Dhot, Sobaisam Pritam Kumar Singh, Raja Rawat, Ruper Lalmang Nongrum and Chiglensana Singh Konsham.

Midfielders: Souvik Das, Joseph Lafakzuala, Germanpreet Singh, Sumit Ghosh, Lalramzauva Khaingte, Zodingliana, Issac Vanmalsawma, Jacob Lalrawngbawla, Fanai Lalrempuia and Bidyananda Singh.

Forwards: Udanta Singh, SK Faiz, Daniel Lalhlimpuia and Naro Hari.

Fixtures: 17th August 2013 vs China U-19, 19th August 2013 vs China U-19

Defenders Need To Be On Their Toes

India has produced some good goalkeepers in recent past and Indian U-19 team has continued this legacy. India will be travelling with 3 Goalkeepers Chinmaya Behera, Kamaljit Singh and Vishal Kaith. All three have given a good account of themselves in the practice matches and have been strong and agile under the bar.

Indian Defence still needs to be a bit sharper in China. The team has conceded few goals against some local clubs in Goa which were not fully match fit. The defence has to be on their toes against quick Chinese attack. The defensive line has few strong lads like Sajid Dhot and Pawan Kuma who can stop Chinese offensive moves. The likes of Nim Dorjee Tamang, Gurba Gangri and Rupert Lalmang Nongrum have earned their place in the team with their exploits in U-20 I-league and these youngsters will have to be at their best playing at the International level.

Creative Jacon and Fanai

Toal – India U-19 Head Coach

The midfield of India U19 looks very strong. You have to be really good if you want to earn the place in midfield which has likes of Germanpreet Singh, Lalramzauwa Khiate, Jacob Lalrawngbwala and Fanai Lalrempuia. Jacob and Fanai have already made their I-League debut for their respective clubs. The experience of playing in I-League will come handy for these two highly rated youngsters. Jacob is considered to be the next star in Shillong Lajong and former coach Desmond Bulpin has admired the youngster’s talent.

Apart from these players the tour will give good exposure to youngster such as Bidyananda Singh and Issac Vanmalsawma. These two youngsters are very young and may not get a game but experience will come handy for them in future.

Can China Stop Daniel And Udanta?

The strike force of the team is well balanced and has been in exceptional form. Especially like of Naro Hari, Udanta Singh and Daniel Lalhlimpuia has been in deadly form in few practice matches they have played. The strike trio will have good back up in SK Faiz. Faiz will have to work hard for his place in starting eleven.

China will not forget the goal of Daniel Lalhlimpuia in AFC U-16 Championship. The youngster was an instrumental figure in the match as India held out for a 2-2 draw. Daniel will hope for the same performance and will look to continue his good run against China. Udanta Singh is one of the highly talented strikers who had come through the ranks of Tata Football Academy. He is known for his lightning pace and eye for the goal. Many believe that he is the quickest player in this Indian team.

The team has been together for almost 2 months now and so far has got accustomed to the playing style. They have got the talent and skills it’s just matter of mental toughness they have to show when they play against China. Playing away from home will really help these young players. A win will boost the confidence of these players for the Under-19 AFC Championship qualifiers later this year.

Players To Watch Out: Jacob Lalrawngbwala, Fanai Lalrempuia, Udanta Singh and Daniel Lalhlimpuia.