India U-16 National Team Head Coach Nicolai Adam says courtesy the exposure tours, his boys are 30 percent better than what they used to be. Hestresses that the boys have “coming up with promising performances and it’s not just by accident.”
In this second part of the exclusive interview with AIFF Media, Nicolai speaks at length about the exposure tours, difficulty in getting to play international youth teams in Europe, future tournaments, the help from AIFF and SAI.
How has the exposure tours shaped the boys?
We are 30 percent better than what we were. The quality of the matches played during the exposure tours are at an entirely different level. The boys came up with promising performances and it didn’t happen by accident; rather it pointed to the fact that the boys have potential to compete at the top level. It is always there.
Some of your critics feel you have mostly played club matches and not much against international youth teams.
If I can get international youth matches every Wednesday and Saturday I would have certainly played. That’s a dream and not a reality as it is impossible to reach such a situation.
Whys is that?
One needs to understand that the National Youth Teams in Europe may not be staying together all the time. In Europe they play regularly for their respective clubs rather than assembling all round the year for the National Youth Team. The system caters more to the club structure than anything else.
In Europe, they need to cater to their education in the respective schools and there are many logistical hindrances. Hence, we find it best to play the clubs as it’s there where all the best talent is available.
However if anyone from those critics is willing to sponsor or fix me a match, I would gladly take it and thank him for his efforts.
Are any matches against international youth teams lined up?
As part of our final preparation which kicks-off from April 1 (2017), we would be playing more international youth teams on a regular basis. We have been invited to play a tournament in Brazil where we will be playing the Uruguayan National Youth Team.
Any other tournament?
We are also scheduled to play in the Valentin Granatkin Cup in Russia where we get the chance to test ourselves against European National Teams who would be fielding 1999 born boys (The eligibility for the India U-16 World Cup Team is for boys born on or after 01.01.2000). Can you imagine the quality and intensity against which we would be testing ourselves?
How much of a help has All India Football Federation been?
I am extremely grateful that the AIFF top brass has been very cooperative allowing me do plan all the preparation. I also need to thank the Sports Authority of India for all their help without which we just couldn’t have ventured abroad.
(Interview & Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)