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India U-16 coach Nicolai Adam: I was never looking to avoid any team

The India U-16 national football team pose for a group photo.

India U-16 Head Coach Nicolai Adam said he wasn’t looking to “avoiding any particular team,” in the AFC U-16 Championship Finals. Moments after India were drawn in Group A with Asian powerhouses Iran, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, Nicolai maintained that all he wants is a “good competition.”

“There was no question about avoiding any particular team. I was perhaps the most relaxed person in the hall and all I want is good competition which will augur well for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, he said.

Will you label Group A as the “Group of Death”?

This isn’t a “Group of Death” at all. This is us plus 15 other best teams from Asia. I don’t know how many times I have met Iran as opponents and they are there again in our group,” he stated.

India had last met Iran in the AFC U-16 Qualifiers in Tabriz in a match which Iran won 3-0.

“I don’t have any idea about Saudi Arabia and UAE. I will try to gather as much information as we can about them and then sit down to analyse them and find out the solution to beat them,” Nicolai saids about India’s other two opponents in Group A.

The AFC U-16 Championship India 2016 Finals kick-off in Goa on September 15 with the Final slated to be held on October 2.

“When I see the whole matrix, they are all good teams. You just have to play them one by one. Our goal stays the same – qualifying to the U-17 World Cup on merit. We will ready and fit for the Championship,” Nicolai added.

With the AIFF Youth Cup having been concluded, the India U-16 team are proceeding to exposure tours to Germany and Norway as part of their preparation for the Championship.

“We have a lot of ground to cover. Right from our May 28 morning when we land in Germany at 8am in the morning, we will start. The same day at 6pm we will have our first session. What it basically means is that there isn’t much time to rest,” Nicolai quipped.

Below are India’s fixtures for the AFC U-16 Championship India 2016:
September 15, 2016: India vs UAE – September (19.00 IST)
September 18, 2016: Saudi Arabia vs India (19.00 IST)
September 21, 2016: India vs Iran (19.00 IST)

(Report & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)