After having secured a comfortable 4-0 victory over WAFF U-16 Championship hosts Jordan, India U-16 national team Head Coach Bibiano Fernandes feels the job is far from being done. Rather than basking in glory he feels best to focus on one match at a time.
As the team gears up to take on Japan in their next match, Bibiano, in an interview speaks at length about the chemistry in the team, the defensive four, Japan’s strengths and much more.
How much relief did the victory bring in?
I have never doubted this team’s ability. We always create goal-scoring chances but we had to work more on our finishing. The boys have put in that extra effort in the training and we have achieved the result against Jordan.
Goalkeeper Niraj Kumar has put up a good show recently. How do you evaluate his performance?
Niraj has always been a Goalkeeper with enormous quality and our goalkeeping coach Felix has been working relentlessly on his shortcomings. He has shown his capability during the training sessions to earn the place in the starting XI. It is always nice to have a healthy competition for the goalkeeping spot.
What’s the chemistry amongst the attacking trio comprising of Vikram, Rohit and Givson?
I’m happy that my team has started to develop a good chemistry. They are able to read each other’s mind on the pitch and sometimes, they even communicate without any verbal communication, which is absolutely superb. I hope they continue this till the AFC U-16 Championship.
Do you feel your defenders are tested before taking on Japan?
They did what’s expected from them against Jordan – especially in the first half when Jordan were making some threatening moves. Even in the past, when we played against teams like Valencia CF, USA, Norway and DPR Korea, Serbia and others, the defenders came up with a gallant display.
Will you adapt to a safety-first approach against Japan?
Japan are an attacking team who love to score. We need to thwart them.