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TFA Blue kick off vs Bangladesh

Jamshedpur: After undergoing rigorous training at a month-long preparatory camp, Suiting Lekini-led TFA India Blue is raring to go against an inexperienced Bangladesh in the inaugural tie of the under-19 JRD Tata Cup international invitational football meet here on Thursday.

Comprising a clutch of budding footballers, TFA India Blue players looked fit as fiddle, their body language indicating a resolve to take the opponents by the horns on the morrow.

Three members of the home squad — goalkeeper Subhashish Roy Choudhury, defender Subhash Mondal and midfielder Bhola Prasad — were part of the Indian colts’ side that lifted the Ian Rush Trophy in Wales. They would surely like to utilise the opportunity to impress the selectors for berths in the AFC qualifiers in Malaysia next month.

TFA India Blue coach Satheevan Balan said he has cautioned not to take the opponents lightly. Balan said he had no idea about the strengths and weaknesses of Bangladesh. “It will be difficult to judge the foreign team before the tournament opener as I have no idea about their game.”

The coach said his team would size up the opponents for the first few minutes before going for the kill.

“We will tailor our strategy to suit our on-field needs. Our main objective will be to win the match,” he said.

Balan said his charges would not stick to any particular formation but keep on improvising as per requirement. On the prospects of the three foreign teams, he said: “Though I do not have much idea about them, I consider Iran as a tough side followed by Uzbekistan”.

On the other hand, Bangladesh coach Mohammad Abu Yousuf said “our main purpose of taking part in this tourney is to learn good football”. Yousuf conceded that the Indians were the favourites against his team. “Every team plays to win. But our focus will be to put out best foot forward irrespective of the outcome.”

He said the Bangladesh side consisted of upcoming players lacking international exposure but it was formed with a view to making a national team in the long run. However, striker Mohammed Syed Hussain, left-back Mohammed Tareq and midfielder Masud Alam were members of the Bangladesh team that won the Asian Youth Cup held here a couple of years ago, he said. (PTI)

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