Calcutta: Even as head coach Goutam Ghosh is eager for AIFF XI’s first victory in the Asia Champions Trophy (Under-16), the academy boys may find the going tough as they face Frenz United Malaysia A in their fourth match, at the Barasat Stadium on Saturday.
India have lost two and drawn one in the three matches they have played so far. The Malaysians are riding high on the fact that they are leading their group with seven points, with two wins and a draw. India had lost their away match to the Malaysian team 0-1 earlier.
Dheerah Singh, the AIFF XI’s 15-year-old goalkeeper, however, put up a brave front on Friday and said he was confident of doing well. The Petr Cech fan said he was ready for the Malaysian test, though the visiting coach, S. Balachandran, sounded a warning saying they would go all out on Saturday.
Though Balachandran exuded confidence that his team Frenz United Malaysia A would put up a good show, he was all praise for the Indians. “They play with their hearts… that’s important,” he added.
The AIFF boys had been finding it a little difficult to adjust to the artificial turf at the Barasat stadium. The boys are from the AIFF’s Kalyani Academy, where they normally play on natural turf.
However, Ghosh said that the initial problems of cramps and fatigue were gradually reducing as special care was being taken. “We are taking lots of precautions. We are not only prepared medically, but also had a change of diet. On Saturday, we will be playing our third home match of the tournament and the boys are steadily improving,” he added.
The Malaysian team coach Balachandran also said that they were more used to playing on natural grass, but the turf here would not really prove to be a problem for his boys.