KOLKATA: Mario Artega, the Mexico U-17 National Team Coach, has expressed confidence about his team’s performance in the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, which starts tomorrow.

The 46-year-old was speaking to the media on Thursday after his team’s first training session in Kolkata. The 2017 CONCACAF U-17 champions are drawn with England, Chile and Iraq in Group F in the FIFA U-17 World Cup, with their first game scheduled on October 8 against the Asian champions Iraq.

Talking about preparations for the tournament, Artega exuded confidence about the abilities of his team. “It’s going to be a tough tournament in India, in conditions that are alien to us. But it’s really exciting and we are looking forward to a good show in the tournament. We’ll be doing all we can to lift the trophy,” he said.

The man who is leading Mexico into their second straight FIFA U-17 World Cup, is well aware that the two-time champions will be under the burden of high expectations, though he is anxious not to get too far ahead of himself and to take each challenge as it comes. As he explained: “We want to win this tournament, but all I’m thinking about right now is negotiating our first match well against Iraq.”

“The match against  Iraq will be crucial. Everyone is talking about England and Chile, but I think we need to be very wary of this team. They’re a strong side and I see it as a very tough game,” the gaffer added.

Wrapping things up, Artega spoke of the need for his side to shine in India: “We have a team that got potential to go the distance. My squad is a mix of players who play in Mexican top tier and others who are playing in lower divisions. If they all perform at their usual level and we give them the confidence they need, we can go and get some good results. I’m expecting the players to give 200 per cent, so that we can be at our best at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.”

The North American nation is pinning it’s dreams on players like midfielder Jairo Torres, who won Golden Ball in 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, and striker Daniel Lopez, the top scorer for Mexico in the same competition.

 

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