Ahead of India’s must win clash against China at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa on October 11, 2016, AIFF Media caught up with India U-16 National Team Assistant Coach Etibar Ibrahimov and talked abreast about India’s narrow loss against South Africa, the squad preparation for China and about India’s next opponents, China.
What is your analysis of India’s narrow loss against South Africa?
Our Team played well against South Africa and ensured that they were competitive enough to keep the South African defence on its toes. We had told the boys to be patient in attack and dominate the game, and that is exactly what we did.
The Indian Team created many chances, both against Russia and South Africa, but could not score.
If you do not take your chances against top National Teams, you are bound to lose and that is what happened with us. We should have been more clinical in the final third but we were not and as it happened, two mistakes while defending, one in each match led us to our loss. Football is a sport wherein you have to score in order to win. It is not rocket science.
Did India deserve to lose the matches against South Africa and Russia?
The credit goes to the Russian defence for stopping us from scoring even with ten men on the pitch. Against South Africa, we had done enough to at-least take a point off them. However, it does not matter if we deserved to lose or win, what matters are the results and we lost in both the matches played.
Will the pressure be on India to deliver, now that China sit above India and currently qualify for the table deciding match on October 15?
When you are playing in front of your home crowd, the pressure is always there to deliver. And in the last two matches, we have made our fans proud by showing that we are no pushovers and by bringing two top Teams on the same page as us.
Against China, the pressure will be there. But, we will not be deterred by it as we aim for a win.
What are your thoughts on China as opponents?
We respect China as opponents and they will make it tough for us to play, it will be a good learning experience for the boys. We cannot underestimate China at any cost, as they are a strong Team capable enough to hurt us.
The game is also important as we will see how the Players react when there is a must-win scenario.
(Report & Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)