“We believe in our abilities and will try to beat Korea Republic,” India U-16 National Coach Nicolai Adam told AIFF Media prior to India’s last match against Korea Republic scheduled for Monday (May 23) in the AIFF Youth Cup.
In a frank interview, Nicolai spoke at length about the additional day of rest, his thoughts on South Korea, India’s goal, the lessons learnt and much more.
How much have the two days of rest helped the boys rejuvenate?
I think that the rest will be in our favour. But as I have mentioned before, the boys are fit and the physical condition of each of them is very good and we are used to the heat. The heat didn’t ‘kill’ us in our matches against Tanzania and United States of America. Rather our mistakes did. Our wingbacks lost the 1v1 battles and their positioning when the opponents had the ball cost us dearly. We paid heavily for our mistakes.
How do you assess South Korea?
They are a very strong Team in all positions especially their forwards who are able to strike at any time.
With Tanzania and Malaysia having played a 2-2 draw, India need to win against South Korea to be able to play the third-place play-off match. Can we achieve that?
We will know for sure on Monday (May 23) after the first game (Malaysia vs USA) what we really need to achieve to get to the 5th match – the third place play-off. I feel everything is possible. We will give our best and try to play to our full potential and not make any mistakes. We believe in our abilities and try to beat South Korea.
If you look at the Standings, the slot for the Final is still open. That’s the beauty of Football.
What have been the lessons from the Tournament?
That’s actually a good question to ask the boys. I know and I knew that in phase II of our overall preparation plan for the World Cup 2017, we will only be able to deliver results if we can minimize the mistakes on the pitch and stick to our style of play that suits us best.
From now on, we will be constantly playing highly competitive opponents. That’s the only way to get the necessary exposure and learning experience to finally make it to the next higher level of International competitive Youth Football.
(Report & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)