Hot on the heels of the 2014 U-16 Asia Champions Trophy experience, the All India Football Federation has organised a first of its kind Exposure Tour to the land of ‘Total Football,’ the Netherlands for the India U-16 national team represented by the AIFF U-16 Regional Academy Boys, Kalyani.
Besides playing in two tournaments – the International Youth Tournament in Heemskerk on August 9-10 and the RKTVC B Top Tournament a week later in Tiel – the AIFF Colts would also be playing friendly matches against the Academy sides of PSV Eindhoven, FC Schalke 04 (Germany) and KRC Genk (Belgium).
The once in a lifetime opportunity has been initiated by AIFF Technical Director Robert Baan, also the former Technical Director of Feyenoord Rotterdam, who will be overseeing the progress of the tour.
Speaking exclusively to AIFF Media, the AIFF Technical Director said: “These are two of the strongest tournaments in Europe and we are just lucky to be invited. There would be teams from all over including Germany and Belgium. And it will depend on our results whether we would be invited again the next year.”
Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF felt the exposure would only help the Academy boys “mature faster.”
“AIFF is committed to providing the best of opportunities for our Academy boys. This tour, I feel, would provide them immense experience of the manner football is structured and played at the highest level. It will help them to mature faster and as better players,” he stated.
The two highly rated youth competitions will provide the opportunity for the boys to rub shoulders with some of the best youth academies of the world. To accommodate three matches in a day, the duration of games will be reduced to forty minutes.
“It will surely have an influence and that’s exactly the reason why we are going abroad. I’d say this group is one of the luckiest groups ever. Very recently they played in the Asia Champions Trophy 2014 and also had a stint in the AFC U-16 Qualifiers in Kuwait last year. But this would be a totally different experience for them and as a Technical Director it gives me a chance to make a conclusion as to where we stand,” Baan maintained.
“In reality, it’s not on the field development which defines a player. Rather, it’s the off-the-field which is also important. By travelling for such tournaments, our boys would be learning new concepts, getting used to new cuisines, walk through different cultures, environment, climate and it all comes as a package for the overall development of a football player.”
In the International Youth Tournament in Heemskerk, the boys will be facing Academies of Dutch outfits S.B.V. Excelsior, FC Volendam and Spanish side Deportivo Saint Maickol.
A week later the U-16 SAFF Cup Champions will be playing against Academies of FC Twente and AZ Alkmaar along with RKTVC’s own Youth Team.
Besides, the India U-16 boys also play FC Dordrecht on August 6, Germany’s FC Schalke 04 on August 13 and PSV Eindhoven and KRC Genk of Belgium on August 17.
INDIA U-16 NETHERLANDS TOUR | SCHEDULE
BROERSEN INTERNATIONAL YOUTH TOURNAMENT (HEEMSKERK)
Vs Deportivo Saint Maickol (August 9).
Vs S.B.V. Excelsior (August 9)
Vs FC Volendam U-17 (August 9)
RKTVC B TOP TOURNAMENT (TIEL)
Vs RKTVC (August 16)
Vs FC Twente (August 16)
Vs AZ Alkmaar (August 16)
Vs FC Dordrecht U-16 (August 6)
Vs FC Schalke 04 (August 13)
Vs PSV Eindhoven (August 17)
Vs KRC Genk (August 17)
(Report & Picture courtesy AIFF Media)