KATHMANDU: After an impressive three-nil victory against a strong Palestine in the first match of AFC U-16 Qualifiers, India U-16 stay cautious in their approach when they take on hosts Nepal at the Halchowk Stadium on Friday (September 22, 2017).
“There’s no room for complacency,” Coach Bibiano Fernandes said. “Nepal are a strong side and we know each other with both teams having played in the recently concluded U-15 SAFF Championship final,” he added. “They will be backed by a partisan crowd and it will be a challenge for us.”
“Everybody saw what we’re capable of but we can’t afford to be complacent,” he reiterated. “We had an ideal start in the tournament but the target is far away. We aim to continue the winning momentum and prefer to take one match at a time,” he stated.
Bibiano also mentioned that India won’t start as the favourites even after getting better of their rivals twice in the recently-concluded SAFF U-15 Championship. “We won’t have any advantage over Nepal. Although we beat them twice recently, it won’t have any effect on tomorrow’s game and everyone should start afresh.”
He vented his confidence on his squad and showed his faith for “creating quite a few opportunities against Palestine.”
“At times we were shaky the other day but at the end of the game, we won the game convincingly. I have full faith in my squad who have created so many opportunities throughout the game.”
Meanwhile, Nepalese coach Sunil Kumar Shrestha showed his utmost respect for the Indian side. “India have been going through a good phase right now and they were clearly the deserving champions in the SAFF U-15 Championship,” Shrestha mentioned. “We will try to play our natural football to spoil their party tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, Nepal went down fighting by a solitary goal to Iraq in their first match of the Group D.
The match between Nepal and India is scheduled to kick-off at IST 3.30pm.