Dubbing the AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers, which are slated to kick-off on October 2, 2015 in Palestine, as “competitive where everyone will want to win”, India U-19 national team Head Coach Lee Johnson said, “We expect a tough and challenging atmosphere in the AFC U-19 Qualifiers.”
“Everyone here is participating to qualify for the next round and hence every team we play will be tough and very challenging,” Johnson told at the official pre-tournament press conference held in a snazzy hotel in Ramallah, Palestine.
“We have first-hand knowledge of Afghanistan as we have defeated them before. However, we have utmost respect for our opponents and will not underestimate any team.”
“At the same time, we would give it our best shot and hopefully qualify,” he added.
The Indian U-19 colts clash swords hosts Palestine tomorrow in their first match of the AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers at the Faisal Al-Husseini Stadium in Al-Ram.
“The fixture against Palestine will be difficult and intimidating as they are the hosts and they will have the support of the 12th man – that is the fans. However we will do our best to win,” Johnson later told AIFF Media.
Furthermore, Johnson thanked the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) for their hospitality.
Meanwhile, Bader Saleh, Head Coach of the United Arab Emirates, brushed down the tag of ‘UAE as favorites to qualify’ and expressed in the press conference that, “football is a game where the probability of winning is 50%. We have the utmost respect for every team present here.”
Sitting next to Saleh, Palestinian U-19 national team Head Coach Ayman Sandouka said: “This tournament will give an exposure to the Palestinian team in our quest to evolve as a footballing nation. We welcome all the participating teams and wish them all the best.”
In tune with Sandouka, Saeed Rajab Shah, Head Coach of the Afghanistan U-19 national team said, “The AFC U-19 Qualifiers give us a platform where we can test ourselves against some of the best teams in Asia. Although we expect a tough campaign, the players are excited to be here.”
(Report & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)