AIFF Media Team
NEW DELHI: The India U-17 National Team, have begun a new phase of preparations for the AFC U-17 Asian Cup 2023, as they have moved to Germany for an intensive last leg of training. Late on Thursday night, the Blue Colts played their first training game in Germany against a combined team of U-16 and U-19 boys from VFB Stuttgart.
Before this, they were in Spain, playing a series of training games against the junior teams of reputed La Liga clubs like Atletico de Madrid, Real Madrid, Getafe, Leganes, etc.
The Blue Colts are set to face Vietnam (June 17), Uzbekistan (June 20), and Japan (June 23) in Group D of the junior continental tournament. The German leg of the India camp is organised by the German Football Association (DFB) in collaboration with the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
Under the arrangement, Coach Bibiano Fernandes’ 25-member squad will get to avail training facilities at FC Augsburg and VfB Stuttgart and are scheduled to play training matches with the youth teams of the two host clubs.
In addition, a tailored training programme has been drawn up by the DFL and DFB to support the young players in their tactical and physical development. The touring boys will also take part in specialised classroom sessions on topics such as sports psychology, nutrition and recovery. The team will also visit the DFB’s world-class training facility, used by the Germany team ahead of international fixtures.
AIFF Secretary General Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran said: “We would like to thank the DFB, the Bundesliga clubs, and DFL management for accommodating the India U-17 team, and for organising our training camps, as well as providing them with the opportunity to play training matches against the junior teams of two big clubs. This will help our U-17 team prepare for the AFC U-17 Asian Cup. Being in Germany, the players are very much encouraged to compete at a stronger level.
“We would like to have a long-term collaboration with our partners in Germany, and the training of the U-17 team there is just the beginning. We will have elaborate discussions in the near future and finetune our partnership with the DFB, where we see young talents get a bigger stage in Germany in the future, whereby we gain from the expertise of German football to further develop the game in India,” Dr Prabhakaran added.
Bundesliga International Chief Marketing Officer Peer Naubert said: “"As one of the world’s most popular football leagues, we are committed to supporting the growth of the game around the world, and the opportunity to help the AIFF in developing its young talent is something that aligns perfectly with our football philosophy.
“The Bundesliga is renowned globally for the talent it has developed in recent years, and has seen more Asian players in the last 20 years than the other top four European leagues combined. We are looking forward to working with the AIFF and these young Indian players as they continue their footballing education.”
Christina Gassner, DFB Director Institutional and Political Relations & Strategy, said: “The visit of the AIFF U-17 team ahead of the tournament in Thailand is a very good example of the close partnership between the DFB and the AIFF. We wish the team well for the AFC U-17 Asian Cup and are looking forward to further developing the ties to our Indian friends.”