The AIFF Youth Cup which is slated to kick-off from May 15, 2016 in Goa gives an opportunity for the participating teams – USA, South Korea, Tanzania, Malaysia and hosts India – to test their footballing tenacity and progress, all in their mission to gear up for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.
Speaking at the Official Pre-Tournament Press Conference, Seo Hyowon, Head Coach of Korea Republic stated that the Korean team is still looking for value addition in the squad and the AIFF Youth Cup helps identify weak spots.
“We trained for 10 days before coming to this tournament and this cup will certainly help us to gain experience whilst letting us to identify our weaknesses, so we can work on them,” he said. “We are still in a phase of finalizing our final squad for the FIFA U-17 World Cup and we are still looking for players.”
The biggest challenge for Korea Republic will be the hot and humid weather of Goa. Hyowon agrees and adds: “The temperature is a challenge for us and the players are finding it difficult to play. However, it will help us develop as a team while enabling us to acclimatize before the AFC U-16 Championship.”
The AFC U-16 Championship Finals are to be held in Goa in September 2016.
Head Coach of Malaysia, Somasundram Periasamy explained the importance of such tournaments in the evolution of youth teams. “We appreciate this initiative by All India Football Federation as it helps us in our quest for the FIFA U-17 World Cup by giving us exposure and helps us to prepare for the AFC U-16 Championship.”
“We have recruited players in the last three months and have played in domestic U-19 leagues as well but this tournament will help us assess our squad better,” he added. “For us the objective in this tournament is to test our players against better teams are hope that we are able to give our opponents a good fight.”
Meanwhile Bakari Shime, Head Coach of Tanzania, stated that the African team is raring to prove a point in the AIFF Youth Cup. “We are here to compete against better teams before the Finals of the AFCON Cup and this is a golden opportunity to prove ourselves.”
“We have had three National Camps before this tournament and are ready for the challenges that we face. This tournament will help our young squad to gain experience and develop.”
The AIFF Youth Cup kicks-off tomorrow (May 15, 2016) with Tanzania taking on United States of America in the opening fixture (16.00 IST) while hosts India clash swords against Malaysia in the second fixture of the day (20.00 IST). All matches would be held at Tilak Maidan, Goa.
(Report & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)