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FIFA Ranking is irrelevant in Youth Football

AFC U-16 Championship India 2016 - Press Conference (Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)

A day prior to taking on hosts India in a Group A match of the AFC U-16 Championship India 2016, United Arab Emirates U-16 coach Abdelmajeed Ibrahim Mohamed Alnemer insisted that FIFA Rankings has no significance when it comes to Youth Football.

“Honestly speaking, at this age, the Senior Team Ranking hardly matters. You can find many good teams at this age group but at the senior level, they fail to perform,” Ibrahim maintained at the official pre-tournament press conference.

“The Senior Team Rankings of UAE and India won’t come into play when this bunch of boys hit the ground tomorrow,” he added.

For the record UAE are placed at 74 in the FIFA World Ranking with India distantly placed at 152.

The kick-off of the much-awaited clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Thursday (September 15, 2016) is at 19.00 IST and it will be telecast live on Star Sports network.

He also admitted that his team has headed into the Championship “without any knowledge about India.”

“We are going to play India tomorrow. But I have no idea about my rivals. We have prepared to our strengths and we’ll give our best to churn out the best possible result,” he commented.

UAE, who finished runners-up in the 2002 AFC U-16 Championship, head into the Championship from Malaysia where they played four matches.

“We began our preparation from June. We had an exposure trip to Malaysia where we played four matches. Now we’re here to test ourselves.”

On being asked what is going to be the target for the Gulf nation in the forthcoming AFC U-16 Championship, the gaffer doesn’t mince his words to describe that anything beyond the group stage is what he is looking for.

“Everyone has set a target here. We too have come with our target. We’ll look from match to match and first of all, we will pounce on to reach the next round.”

The UAE squad were the first among the 16 teams to have landed in Goa from a week prior. Ibrahim informed the plan was to “get accustomed to the atmosphere and it has so far gone as per the plan.”

(Report & Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)