With a loss to hosts Bangladesh in their last group game, defending champions, India, were under pressure to beat Nepal in the semi-final of the SAFF U16 Championship a couple of days ago which they duly did. A well-taken goal by Rahim Ali was enough to overcome the Nepal U16s in the semi-final. The victory sealed a spot in the final against Bangladesh who beat Afghanistan in the other semi-final by a solitary goal.
With two wins on the trot against German opposition, confidence should have been coursing through the veins of India’s U16 team training for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup to be held in India in 2017. That was not to be the case, however, as the Indians took on SpVgg Greuther Fuerth in the seventh match of their Germany exposure trip.
Slow to get into the game, the Indians found themselves two goals down by the early stages of the second half. Unfortunately for the German side, the second goal shook India coach, Nicolai Adam’s team out of their slumber as they drew on their never-say-die mentality. By the 54th minute, the India U16s turned the tables on their counterparts and were 3-2 up. Having gone ahead, the Indians defended stoutly to end the game with a narrow 3-2 win.
India U16 Team v Bangladesh Image Credit: AIFF Media
India have qualified for the semi-finals of the SAFF U16 Championship being held in Sylhet, Bangladesh despite suffering a disappointing loss to the hosts yesterday.
Backed by a vociferous home crowd of nearly 20,000, the Bangladesh U16s put the visitors under pressure from the kick-off. However, it was not until the 31st minute that Bangladesh broke the deadlock through Mohammad Shawon. India responded soon with Rahim Ali scoring a well-taken goal for the India U16s in the 49th minute. As the match progressed, the game opened up to become an end-to-end affair with India eventually conceding the match-deciding penalty in the 82nd minute. Mohammad Atiquzzaman Atiq stepped forward to coolly score what would be the winner from the penalty spot.
Despite the defeat, India, who now have 3 points from a possible 6, have qualified for the semi-finals. They will play the winners of the Nepal-Afghanistan match in the semi-finals on August 16th at 1730 hrs IST.
India U16s v FSV Frankfurt Image Credit: AIFF Media
Continuing their fine run of form from their 13 goal win over the Rosenheim U16s, the India U16s notched up a victory of a slightly different kind by overcoming the FSV Frankfurt U16s 2-0 in a hard-fought encounter.
This was the team’s sixth match, and fourth win, of the Germany exposure tour as they prepare for the upcoming AFC U16 Qualifiers in Iran next month.
While some parents undermine the importance of sports, other young elite athletes dismiss the value of education. The truth, however, is that sport and education go hand-in-hand. An alert, intelligent mind driving a physically fit body is important for success in any field.
When it comes to grassroots football, specifically, education plays a key role in enabling young footballers to process various stimuli in real-time on the pitch and make better decisions. At the same time, experiences on the field – winning, losing, coming back from behind, working selflessly for the team, for example – help children develop character. In fact, most of life’s greatest lessons aren’t learned in classrooms, they’re borne of experience. And football is one such avenue that makes men and women who are mentally and physically stronger.
An Indian Under-12 team from Nagaland comprising boys mainly from Greenwood School, Dimapur achieved a creditable second place finish at the recently concluded Asian Youth Football Fiesta 2015. The tournament was conducted in Anseong, South Korea where the India U12s emerged runners-up in the group after winning three group matches out of four while Thailand finished as champions.