AIFF Media Team
NEW DELHI: The India U-17 Men's National Team, preparing for the AFC U-17 Asian Cup, has travelled to Doha, where they will face Qatar U-17s in the first of two friendly matches at the Aspire Academy on Saturday, February 25, 2023.
Head coach Bibiano Fernandes feels confident of his boys ahead of the two friendlies.
"We've got a good buzz going around in the camp. The boys feel confident, and I'm sure they will be able to produce some good results against Qatar in these two matches," said Fernandes.
"Qatar are of course a good side, they are one of the best in Asia, and playing against them will be a good experience for the boys," he said.
The India U-17s have been in camp in Goa since November, 2022, and have since played two friendlies against Uzbekistan U-17s (2-0 and 0-3). The 46-year-old Fernandes believes that having his side in camp almost four months now has really helped the players understand each other, as well as their own selves.
"When you're at this age, you could often struggle to figure out the team chemistry, and also how to figure out your own strengths and weaknesses and play according to them," he said. "We have been doing that and much more in the last four months, and the boys are getting up to the desired level that will put us in good stead for the Asian Cup."
Fernandes further went on to highlight the importance of playing friendly matches against competitive sides, in order to get the team ready for the best in Asia.
"Matches are always important for development, especially at this age. Our ultimate goal is to make the last four in Asian Cup, which would then take us to the World Cup. To compete at the Asian level, we need to play not only the best in Asia, but also those that are above that level," he said.
India's match against Qatar will kick off at 7.30 pm IST, on Saturday, February 25, 2023.