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By Soumo Ghosh,
AIFF Media Team


NEW DELHI: While it was the FIFA U17 World Cup that was top of the list for Indian football fans last year, it’s the AFC U16 Championship, that will be in the sights for the Indian football fans in 2018.


One young man on whom coach Bibiano Fernandes will bank on for adding some flair to the attacking third of the blue colts is left winger Lalrokima. For nimble-footed teenager, however, creating on-the-field history is not the only objective. He feels that can only be achieved when there’s a well-knit unit backing it up.


“We are all like a family, here. We live together, we support each other, and we care about each other,” said the youngster, who is fondly called Kima by his teammates. “Of course we have our concrete plans, our objectives with regards to the tournament, but gelling as a team is very important, both on and off the pitch.”


Kima went on to state that the entire team had been anticipating qualification for the final of the AFC U16 Championship for a long time and the moment when they did secure a spot in Malaysia 2018, the lads went bonkers in happiness.


“We were so happy; the entire team ran around the hotel. We screamed, and danced went absolutely crazy that day,” he said. “There were hotel staff who looked at us. We were in Nepal and we were celebrating our qualification at the cost of Nepal,” he smiled.


Despite this achievement by the boys, Kima believes that qualifying for the 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup in Peru would be a real target for the team, one that they can only achieve if they make it to the semi-finals.


The fan boy moment


Although Kima himself idolises Barcelona superstar Philippe Coutinho, who plays in the same position, his biggest fan boy moment came when he ran into an absolute legend from the Catalan club.


“I couldn’t believe my eyes when we met Xavi,” said Kima with excitement written all over his eyes. “Xavi was very courteous. He met us all, and even posed for pictures with us.”

Posted on : Friday September 14, 2018