The India U-16 National Team currently preparing for the AFC U-16 Championship Finals to be held in September in Kuala Lumpur left for a month-long exposure tour to Hong Kong and Spain today (March 22, 2018) morning.
This tour is the second of a series of exposure tours arranged by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) along with the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs to help the team prepare in the best possible fashion for the U-16 finals where a berth in the FIFA U-17 World Cup is at stake.
The squad being coached by Bibiano Fernandes will first be participating in the Jockey Club International Youth Invitational Football Tournament, a four-nation tournament where the colts will be playing against U-17 National Teams of Chinese Taipei, Singapore and hosts Hong Kong.
The fixture for the Jockey Club International Youth Invitational Football Tournament is as follows:
March 23: Chinese Taipei U-17 vs India U-16
March 24: India U-16 vs Singapore U-17
March 25: Hong Kong U-17 vs India U-16
Mr. Kushal Das, General Secretary, All India Football Federation expressed his gratitude to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, the Sports Authority of India and the Ministry of External Affairs for facilitating the tour and the entire procedure.
“I would like to profusely thank the MYAS, the SAI and the MEA for all the assistance provided to make this exposure tour possible. This tour would not have happened if they had not stood by us,” he said.
Post the tournament in Hong Kong which ends March 25, the squad will be proceeding to Spain to play another tournament which includes short-format matches league plus knockout elite tournament, which would also be participated by clubs/academies of the likes of FC Barcelona, Manchester United, UC Sampdoria, Villareal CF, FC Shakhtar Donetsk, etc.
The schedule for the tournament is as follows:
March 28: India U-16 vs IFK Stocksund (SWE)
March 29: India U-16 vs BCN FC (AUS)
March 29: India U-16 vs CEF SP Vidrerenca (ESP)
March 30-31: Knockout rounds
The squad, thereafter, will proceed to play the SportChain Cup, a 4-nation single round tournament which includes the likes of USA and Norway, the fixtures of which are awaited.