Calcutta: The national football coach Stephen Constantine has often gone on record saying India’s talent lies in its junior sides. It will be up to the India under-17 boys to prove that the faith their chief coach has in them is not misplaced when they take on Nepal in the first game of the AFC Championship qualifiers here on Monday.
Talking about India’s chances, coach Jahar Das said: “The boys have been training together for some time. I’m sure they will be able to deliver.”
According to the coach, the team has seven players from Mizoram, five from Bengal and two each from Meghalaya and Manipur.
“Our midfielder Tete Lau is a good player and we’re pinning our hopes on him.”
Das felt scoring goals would never be much of a problem for his team. “Our forwardline, consisting of Lalwanpuia and L. Mawia have been playing together and I hope they do their job tomorrow,” he said.
However, his defence is a bit of a worry, prompting the coach to employ an extra defender. “We’ll play in the 5-3-2 formation, which allows a bit of extra covering in the defence.”
The Nepal side, on the other hand will be no pushovers, according to captain K.C. Rojit. “We’ve been in an academy for two years together and that is bound to bear fruits,” he said.
The third team, Afghanistan, haven’t arrived yet. AFC will confirm their participation on Monday. “If they do not turn up, India and Nepal will play two matches and the winner goes through,” an AIFF official said.
Till late in the evening, the Afghanistan team was yet to report.