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Bruno Coutinho urges fans to fill up the stands and support India

AFC U-16 Championship: India U-16 v Saudi Arabia U-16 (Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)

Former India captain and local hero Bruno Coutinho was spotted in the stands on the opening day to cheer for the India U-16 national team in the ongoing AFC U-16 Championship India 2016. Come Wednesday (September 21), it won’t be any different.

“We need to be there to back them. Undoubtedly, it’s going to be an exciting match and a full house will give the boys added motivation,” Arjuna Awardee Coutinho stated.

The burly striker who during his playing days was a menace for rival defenders witnessed the boys’ exploits against the UAE on the opening day.

“Obviously, it was heart-rending to see our boys going down 2-3 after leading 2-1 at the interval. But it’s football and everything is unpredictable,” Coutinho told AIFF Media at one go.

He continued: “See, Iran’s Azadi Stadium is renowned for the tremendous support to their team when the national team plays there. We have to show them tomorrow what we are capable of.”

A 4000-odd crowd thronged the stadium on the other day when India snatched a point against Saudi Arabia, thanks to the dramatic last-minute penalty scored by Suresh Singh.

The prolific striker, who led the Indian national team on several occasions praised the ‘walk-in and enjoy the match for free’ initiative wholeheartedly.

“It’s going to lure more and more football-loving crowd to the stadium to enjoy the match. It was really necessary to make the Goan people know what’s happening in their city right now,” he maintained.

“Every day starts afresh. No team is unbeatable. If the boys play to their potential they can have the last laugh,” he stated.

The kick-off against Iran at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Margao on September 21 (Wednesday) is at 19.00 IST.

(Report & Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)