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India-Tajikistan



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HEAD TO HEAD INDIA VS TAJIKISTAN: FIFA Rankings (AUGUST 2013): Tajikistan - 114 || India - 145

TOTAL MATCH = 3
WON : India 1:1 Tajikistan
DRaw: India 1:0 Tajikistan
Score: India 5:4 Tajikistan

RESULTS:

August 1, 2008 (AFC Challenge Cup, Hyderabad)
India 11 Tajikistan
IND : (Tuychiev Alisher self-goal 61st)
TAJ : (Yusuf Rabiev 11th)

August 13, 2008 (Final, AFC Challenge Cup, New Delhi)
India 4-1 Tajikistan
IND: (Sunil Chhetri – hat-trick 9th, 23rd, 76th; Bhaichung Bhutia – 18th)
TAJ :(Futhkhullo Futhkhloev - 44th)

March 9, 2012 (AFC Challenge Cup, Kathmandu)
India 0-2Tajikstan
TAJ : Khamaroukolov Akhtam - 60th; Davronov Nuriddin - 66th)



10.08.2013: A 20-member Senior Indian National squad landed at the Khujand International Airport on Friday (August 9, 2013). The Indian squad flew to Dushanbe, the Capital of Tajikistan from New Delhi from where they boarded a connecting flight to the second largest City of Tajikistan.

The Tajikistan Football hired a Chartered Flight for the Indian National Team to fly to Khujand from Dushanbe. This was after the Indian Team missed the connecting flight from Dushanbe to Khujand courtesy a four-hour delay at the Indira Gandhi International Airport.

The International Friendly against Tajikistan is slated to be played on August 14 at the 20 Years of Independence Stadium in Khujand. The kick-off is slated for 5.30pm (IST).

The final 20-member list is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Karanjit Singh, Sandip Nandy, Subhasish Roychowdhury.

Defenders: Denzil Franco, Nirmal Chettri, Arnab Mondal, Gouramangi Singh, Raju Gaikwad, Sandesh Jhingan.

Midfielders: Mehtab Hossain, Lalrindika Ralte, Arata Izumi, Lenny Rodriguez, Jewel Raja Shaikh.

Forwards: Francis Fernandes, Shylo Malsawmtluanga, Clifford Miranda, Sunil Chhetri, Robin Singh, Dawson Fernandes.



NEWS-1



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13.03.2013: AIFF MEDIA RELEASE : History says the two Teams have met only in the AFC Challenge Cup. History further says there's just one hat-trick scored between the two Teams. History also says the two Teams have only played thrice among themselves.

"Your Captain is a good Player. Our stopper-back has special plans for him. We won't allow him to score," a Tajikistan Football Federation Official who received the Team India contingent at the Dushanbe International Airport, smiled. "We are expecting 25000 people in the Stadium. It's a special match for us," he added. Post practice, while changing his boots, the "Captain' listens. "They are very powerful," is all what he quips.

What are your plans? You ask - "Football is not an individual sport. We play a Team Game and we will," Sunil Chhetri declares. The Weather in Khujand has fluctuated since the Indian Team has camped here. If the first day was very pleasant, the second day was quite warm while the third day was windy, rainy and a bit chilly.

"I'm happy with the preparation," echoes National Coach Wim Koevermans. "It was a bit stressful to find the right training ground but the local people have been very helpful and the ground where we practiced was the best we could locate in the neighbourhood," he adds. "It's good to see the boys back together but the match stays a big challenge for us - we are up against a very strong Tajikistan side," he goes on.

Have you finalised on your Playing XI? "I won't tell it at the moment," Koevermans jokes. "Jokes apart, I haven't finalised it as yet."

Arnab Mondal, very highly-rated, and someone who missed out because of two untimely injuries earlier isn't willing to read much into the starting XI. "It's up to the Coach to decide as to who will start and who won't. Modern-day Football is all about the specific day. We are a good Team and we need to stay positive against Tajikistan," Mondal maintains.

"Isn't it an irony that despite playing and dominating matches, the result hasn't been much favourable?" Mehtab Hossain quips. "I've heard around 25000 or more would turn up for the Match. In such matches, you need to be mentally strong and give that extra bit. If you need to win, we need to give 200 percent," he adds.

"The practice sessions have been fruitful. The telepathy has started to work,' he pronounces.

Methab has been an quintessential pat of Koevermans' squad along with Lenny Rodrigues, Francis Fernandes and Clifford Miranda. The fact that India's overseas win in an International Friendly was way back in 2004 against Kuwait crops up.

"We need to sneak out a result from this match," Miranda pronounces. "We desperately want to change the trend. We will go with an open mind." For the record, Tajikistan are ranked 114 while India are presently 145 on the FIFA ladder.

Footballers all over have their own unique way to unwind themselves. With the Team Hotel devoid of any elevator, you ought to climb the stairs. And invariably at the first-floor lobby, you will see a bespectacled guy engrossed in his book. "It's a book on World War 2," Arata Izumi, perhaps for the first time, glancing out of the book tells you. It's hard not to spot his Samurai hairdo.

"I did watch some videos of Tajikistan on Youtube. We have had Team Meetings where Coach has dissected them and we will be having more Meetings. We can't lose focus even for that split second. It's their Home match after all," he states.

History points you to the calendar. It's August 13 and it was on this day that five years back India beat Tajikistan to earn a ticket to the Asian Cup in New Delhi in 2008. History also points you that Independence Day is just around the corner.

Post Breakfast some boys go for a walk. With match-day approaching, they prefer to stay in their zone and talk among themselves. Some skit at the Lobby and call up their dear ones back Home while some stay busy playing Games on their snazzy Mobiles. Arata, meanwhile, has just turned another leaf of his book.

The kick-off at the 20 Year of Independence Stadium is at 5.30pm (IST).



NEWS-2



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13.08.2013: AIFF MEDIA RELEASE :It's Tajikistan and everybody knowingly or unknowingly turn to Indian National Team Captain Sunil Chhetri. In return what you get is a shake of the Head from the Champion. A day prior to India's International Friendly against Tajikistan in Khujand, Chhetri spoke at length to www.the-aiff.com about his emotions, the opposition, India's strengths, the significance of the match and much more. EXCERPTS:

Does Tajikistan ring any bell in your heart?

Yes it does, but there are mixed feelings. At one end there's the AFC Challenge Cup Final which we won in New Delhi and earned a ticket to the Asian Cup while at the other, there's the loss to Tajikistan in the AFC Challenge Cup in Kathmandu in 2012. I rate them very highly and most importantly they will be playing at Home. But at the end of the day it's crucial as to how we play and we are here to give our best.

How much do you carry that hat-trick against Tajikistan in the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup Final? Not at all! Over the years I've understood that you need to learn from the debacles as much you need to learn from something good that has happened. You just cannot carry that memory of that match for long as every match is a different one. It's pertinent not to think about past laurels and debacles as that will never help in your present performance.

We have been told the Tajikistan Team has specific plans for you.

The best part of our new Team is that it isn't about any individual. We are good as a Team and every member of the squad stays aware of it and believes it. As the Captain of the Team it's important as to how we gel as an unit and play as a Team. It's best not to pay much attention as to what the opposition has planned for us.

What's your take on Tajikistan?

The FIFA Rankings say it all. They are 114, we are 145. Whenever we have played against them, they have been very competitive and made it very difficult for us. Undoubtedly they are a very strong side. I reiterate they would be backed by a hostile crowd of 25000 and we all know how Home support can charge up any Team. It will be a very tough test for us.

Ahead of the SAFF Championship how important is this match for Indian Football?

International Friendlies always give you the right platform to judge as to what an International Team would be. Let's not forget that this is an away Friendly for us and the SAFF Championship which follows, is also an away Tournament. In that sense both the interlinked. We know our record in overseas International Friendlies in the recent past have been poor and we have that at the back of our mind.

How has the four-day Camp in Khujand panned out?

Frankly speaking, it would have been nice to have some more days. The National Camp is always so productive. But that's the manner International Friendlies are played across the Globe. Everyone came directly from the pre-season and since we know everybody well enough, we adapted fast. The Sessions have been enjoyable as much as they have been technical and full of variety.



INDIA VS TAJIKISTAN-RESULT



14.08.13: TAJIKISTAN   3-0   INDIA (TAJIKISTAN - FT ...)
TAJ : Nuruddin 10', ( From a right sided pass of Fatkhullo ), Fatkhullo 19' ( 18 yard free kick), Akhtam Khamrokul
IND : Sandip(Karanjit), Nirmal, Gouramangi, Arnab, Raju, Francis, Mehtab (Robin), Lenny, Clifford (tluanga), Jewel(Arata), Chhetri (Dawson).
TAJ : Tuichiyev (c), Farhad, Sohib, Naim, Radjabov, Ergashev,. Fathullo, Vosiev, Ibrahim , Nuriddin, Farhad


90+5': Referee Akhtam Khamrokul blows final whistle. Tajikistan beat India in 3-0 .
90'+2': GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL Akhtam Khamrokul scored for Tajikistan from Penalty.
90':Referee added 5 minutes of injury time.
70':Substitution for India: Dawson in place of Sunil.
50': Clifford Miranda's shot, ball went just over the bar.
43':Substitution for India: Karanjit in place of Sandip.
24':Chance to India through Raju's long throw-in, Clifford's left footed shot cleared by goalkeeper Tuychiev Alisher.
22': Farhad Tohirov run away from defenders and chips the ball over Sandip Nandy, but the ball hit the post
19': GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL Fathullo Fathulloev direct free-kick from 18 meters finds the net.
18': Nirmal Chettri committed foul against Vasiev Dilshod just outside the box. Free kick to Tajikistan. Yellow card to Nirmal.
10': GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL Fathullo Fathulloev centre from the right flank and Nuriddin Davronov shot from the penalty box finds the net.
2': A good chance to Tajikistan as Vosieva's shot hit the post and went out.
0':Kick Off.
Match Referee: Hurshed Dadoboev (Khujand)




India U-19




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13.08.2013: AIFF PRESS RELEASE : The Indian U-19 National Team were held to a 2-2 draw by Shanghai City Games U-19 Team in the one-off Match in Shanghai on Monday (August 12, 2013).

India will be playing the Chinese U-17 National Team on Saturday (August 17, 2013) and Monday (August 19, 2013) as part of their Exposure Trip ahead of the U-19 AFC Qualifiers which will be held in Doha in the first week of October.

The nucleus of the Squad had represented India in the Final Phase of the AFC U-16 Competition in Tehran in 2012 where the Indian colts came agonisingly close to a Quarterfinal berth. The top-four of the Competition eventually earned a ticket to the U-17 World Cup.

Coming to the match, Daniel Lalhlimpuia scored both the goals for India in the first half.

The Shanghai Team, who have been preparing together for 3 years for the Chinese National City Games starting in September, came back from 2-0 down to score twice in the first essay itself. The Shanghai outfit had five China International players.

The India U-19 boys are presently training at the Elite Academy in Goa under Head Coach Colm Joseph Toal.



India U-16



font color= red> Kuwait U-16   2-1   India U 16 (FT.)
IND : Krishna Pandit 64'
KUT : Khaled Alenezi - 8th, Salem Albariki - 44th ( penalty)

INDIA: Dheeraj Singh , Amey Ranawade, Jayananda Singh, Amit Tudu, Jerry Lalrinzuala; Kharlukhi (Bodo Baoringdao 70th), Prosenjit Chakraborty, Anirudh Thapa, Nuruddin, Nijwm Muchahary (Edmund Lalrindika 80th), Bedashwor Singh (Krishna Pandit 60th).

AIFF media release : If you want to witness character on Football Field, come watch India's U-16 boys. Down by two first-half goals, the grit, determination, the one-twos, all combined together with the fighting spirit was displayed to around 2000 NRIs that Indian Football is promising to storm into Continental Championships very soon.

Forget the ovation from the stands, the walk to the Team Bus from the Dressing Room was a Guard of Honour. They clapped, chanted, requested to be posed for Family Albums and enquired about the origin of the Team. One being told that it was a product of AIFF Academies Project, they went back assured. And then came the comment - "Man this is Arsenal! This is not Indian Football, this is Arsenal. "It came from Mervyn Franco, the brother of Denzil Franco, who had come with his family to cheer.

Krishna Pandit reduced the margin for India in the 64th minute as India went down fighting 1-2 in their last match of the U-16 AFC Qualifiers at the Sabah Al-Salem Stadium. India finished on seven points with Tajikistan but the latter finished second by virtue of better goal difference. Quite naturally, the boys broke down. It was hard to console them. They have their own dreams and are pursuing it.

The plethora of passes in the midfield was evident. The U-15 boys playing in their first Continental Championship - the U-16 AFC Qualifiers played it in gaps to make the rivals chase. Down by an early goal scored as early as the 8th minute by an opportunistic Khaled Alenezi who followed a long ball to tap it past Dheeraj Singh, the Indians regrouped, and fast. Anirudh Thapa and Prosenjit Chakraborty stayed the two pivots who rotated, played the one-twos and split the defence, who with their physical prowess were denying the Indians.

Nuruddin was just a livewire down the right flank. He went past Mubarak Alenezi a couple of times to enter the rival box but the Kuwait boys recovered to keep it at bay. With the rivals guessing, the India wards did create some chances but once a Nuruddin shot from inside the box just went out and twice, the rival Goalkeeper Omar Mohammad managed to keep the slate clean. He was an epitome of concentration even as he stooped down to gather some powerful grounders, three of which could have easily bounced back, but didn't.

As the Indians were playing all over and all in charge, Kuwait, much against the run of play doubled the lead form the spot which was awarded after Dheeraj Singh had gathered the ball to deny a Alenezi shot. The second-half was totally one-sided. India played in the rival half all throughout as Kuwait defended, and somehow. However, India reduced the margin in the 64th minute - substitute Krishna Pandit sidestepped Naseer Saeed to slot it home.

Thereafter, the domination stayed omnipresent. But Kuwait managed to stretch it to 90 minutes. History will always remember the result but history is in the making, all for Indian Football. "This is Arsenal."

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27.9.2013: India U 16   8-1   Bhutan U 16 (FT)
INDIA: Jayananda 4', Prosenjit 13',31', Jerry 20', Bedashwor 33', 47', Lalrindika 74', Nuruddin 75'
Bhutan: Yoesel 41'

INDIA: Dheeraj Singh, Amey Ranawade, Jayananda Singh, Amit Tudu, Jerry Lalrinzuala; Kharlukhi, Prosenjit Chakraborty, Anirudh Thapa, Nuruddin, Nijwm Muchahary, Bedashwor Singh.

AIFF PRESS RELEASE : There were two questions, the first of which stayed how long would it take for India to score the first goal. The question found its answer in the 4th minute itself when Jayananda Singh tapped in a Bedashwor Singh corner from the far left.

The second question stayed, how many would India score? With the cool breeze blowing across the Sabal Al-Salem Stadium in the next 90 minutes, the spectators, munching chips and sipping some cold, lost count as to how many India scored. Every time the U-16 boys, all products of All India Football Federation’s Regional Academy scored one after the other, all had to look up to the Electronic Board.

India ended up scoring eight to register a 8-1 victory against Bhutan in their third match of the U-16 AFC Qualifiers. Courtesy the victory India moved upto the 7 points from three matches with their last match slated against hosts Kuwait on September 29. The style stayed the same - moving the ball from one side to the other. There were subtle touches, though in the exuberance of youth, a couple of times, the boys preferred to go past their marker instead of releasing. You ought to give it to them, after all, they are all U-15 boys playing in U-16 Continental Championship.

By the interval as India had scored five, the second question resurfaced again - how many would India end up scoring. Immediately after resumption, the sixth was added to the tally - an ice-cool Bedashwor Singh following up a Nijwm Muchahary centre to head it home. Thereafter, the story stayed the same. Keep possession, those deft touches at a fast pace, slow down at will. Leave aside the boys, by now it had almost become a habit for the NRIs who had dropped in to cheer to expect everything to perfection; so even that odd misspass was being hard to be accepted.

The second change was brought about in the 65th minute – Edmund Lalrindika replacing Nijwm and immediately made an impact as Kezand Wangchuk had little option other to bring him down as he had sidestepped past him. Even as the rival defence stood tall for the resultant free-kick, Edmund added his name to the scoresheet in the 74th minute when he finished off a combined movement down the left. Even the youngest Team member had scored.

The very next minute, Nuruddin's centre deflected off the rival goalkeeper Anup Ghalley to bulge the net. It was 8-1 and we were in the 75th minute. The second question had found its answer by then.

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26.09.2013: INDIA u-16 to face Bhutan U-16 Tomorrow

AIFF MEDIA RELEASE : The 34th All India Governor's Gold Cup Football Tournament will be held from 7th Nov to 19th Nov 2013 on Astro Turf at Paljor Stadium, Gangtok, Sikkim. Sixteen reputed teams are likely to participate including two from Sikkim. The organiser, Sikkim Football Association is all geared up to make the tournament a grand success.

The waves of the Persian Gulf break on the shore, the tall Buildings, the next one taller than the previous, watch. Kuwait City is City of skyscrapers with wide yet quiet roads where with the latest Car Models glide past you. Honking? What is that? Even India U-16 boys ask. As the Team Bus passes by the majestic Al Jaber Ahmad International Stadium, all watch in awe. You hear the shutters of the Cameras being pressed. "It's a 250 Million Dollar Stadium," locals tell you. "There are two helipads inside the Stadium for emergency and VIP movement."

The Training Ground of the All India Football Federation’s Academy boys stay next door - at the Al Nasr Club premises where three lush green turfs lie side by side. The spring in the steps among the boys is unmistakable, the camaraderie, spontaneous. This Team is not a stereotype. "We have watched India and they are a good Team,” Bhutan's Coach from Japan, Kazunori Ohara opined after Bhutan lost their third consecutive match against Kuwait. "We are in the process of building our side. But it will take time. The boys are learning at every step."

The biggest challenge for India stays to shut doors on complacency. But Head Coach Goutam Ghosh isn't worried. "We played well against Tajikistan in our first match and fared much better against Lebanon to register a facile win. We haven’t ever taught the boys to relax during a match. So there’s no question of complacency," Ghosh tells www.the-aiff.com. "But it's not time for any jubilation. The next match is day after and the boys need to eat and rest properly. There are niggles which need to be looked into."

Midfielder Deependra Singh Negi, who had come in as a substitute against Lebanon in the second half had to be rushed to a local Hospital after he suffered from back spasms. He is fine now. The preparation for Bhutan stays precise. With Bhutan noted down in the logbook, the boys are briefed. "People may feel we played excellent in our last match against Lebanon. I have been reiterating that's our normal style of play. We are used to see the boys playing like that," Ghosh adds.

There were a lot of NRIs who had dropped in for the match against Lebanon, including notable dignitaries from the Indian Embassy in Kuwait. They went back impressed, discussing the style of passing and pressing. When these boys play, Football just looks so simple. But it's still early days. "I reiterate, I have full confidence in my boys. I know what they are capable of. But they are young and almost every other Team has more physical presence than us," Ghosh states. "Bhutan are passing through a transition like us. They didn't have a good match against Tajikistan but played well in flashes against Kuwait. But we are ready for them."

Will there be any changes? "We don't want to break the rhythm. We are playing three matches in five days and besides being physically fit, they need to be mentally fresh,” Ghosh, looking into his logbook, pronounces. Qualifying for the Final Phase of the AFC U-16 Championship stays the bull's eye. But it's one step at a time, one match at a time.

The beauty of the sport stays there is no loneliness. The U-16 wards always stay engaged in something or the other among their teammates - minute after minute; hour after hour. There's no pressure seeping into the ranks, they stay ready for the next performance. the Persian Gulf, all blue watches; as do the Tall Buildings.

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U-16 AFC Qualifier :25.09.2013: India U16   4-1   Lebanon U-16 ( FT )
IND : Nuruddin 12', Jayananda 45', Anirudh 62', Bedashwor 66'
IND : Dheeraj, Amey, Jayananda, Amit, Jerry, Kharlukhi (Keke), Prosenjit, Anirudh, Nuruddin, Nijwm, Bedashwor Singh

REPORT - AIFF MEDIA RELEASE : Do you travel distances to watch a Football Match? If you do, would you mind to see a scorcher from 30 yards, or maybe even more to bulge the net - that too from a 15-year old? We leave you with the choice.

It was the 9th minute of the Match and India's U-16 colts, U-15 to be precise, were all over Lebanon U-16 at the Sabah Al-Salem Stadium in Kuwait City at the U-16 AFC Qualifiers. Nuruddin, who if you have a close look at will give you the impression of, perhaps, the most obedient boy in School, picked and blasted it. The ball travelled, rose, gained pace and hit the upper corner of the net even as rival Goalkeeper Mohamad Taha, all acrobatic, tried to keep it away.

The present India, all for future, routed a more physical Lebanon 4-1 in their second match of the Championship. Courtesy the victory, they move to four points from two matches. The next moment for Nuruddin came in the 17th minute. He went past Jean Sakr on the right flank and sent a cross into the rival box. But with everyone beaten, it was that one centimeter above for an onrushing Bedashor to head it in.

Twenty minutes later, the ball bounced a bit awkwardly in front of an unmarked Nuruddin inside the box as he was about to tap it in after a Jerry Lalrinzuala centre down the left had the entire rival defence beaten. The ball, agonisingly, sailed over.But it didn't make much of a difference. Possibly the last move prior to the interval was a throw-in down the right. Amit Tudu's long throw-in was flicked by Jerry and Jayananda, following it up, pushed it in.

India went into the interval with a 2-0 lead. It could have been more, given the domination and penetration.Post resumption, Deependra Singh Negi was brought in for Kharlukhi.Nuruddin hadn't had enough till then. In the 53rd minute, even as the entire midfield with three subtle touches moved from side to the other, Nuruddin tried to finish it off form the top of the box. But this time Taha managed to palm it away even as it menacingly was drifting away from him.

The touches were just brilliant. Sometimes two, sometimes three or four, sometimes more! And mind you, all one touches. The telepathy was evident in the midfield, among the defenders and the midfielders and upfront. Mind you, all in a 4-3-3 formation.Lebanon did pull one back in the 58th minute through Ali Kharoubi, possibly in their sole attack during the match when he sneaked in to put it past a diving Dheeraj Singh.

India hit back harder - pumping in two in the next seven minutes. The tireless Anirudh Thapa scored the third after Bedashwor Singh, playing an one-two with Prosenjit Chakraborty had put Thapa in the clear.And then Bedashwor scored the four minutes later when with his sudden burst of speed he sneaked in between the two rival Central defenders who were kept guessing all throughout the match.

The rest of the match, Lebanon chased; so much so, that even under the lights and with the cool breeze blowing across, their steam ran out fast. India next play Bhutan on September 27.

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INDIA'S U-15 BOYS GEAR UP FOR LEBANON

24.09.2013: AIFF MEDIA RELEASE : You look into their eyes and they will look immediately avoid the eye contact. Around three-four seconds later they will stare back at you. If they find you still haven't moved your eyes yet, they feel guilty as if they have committed a crime. They are innocent, obedient, inquisitive, and shy.

You watch them and remember you were once their age too. Obviously your next wish can't ever be granted - so better not wish to get back to their age. Irrespective, you just cannot be blind in your conscience. Deep down you know that however, religiously you may try to preach about your Footballing Instincts (we all do), these boys are just phenomenal.

Put your hands together to welcome the India U-16 National Team (U-15 to be precise), a product of All India Football Federation's Regional Academy, an initiative which has been an eye-opener for all, that too in span of less than six months.

At the practice session you start pondering as to when did you last see a batch of Indian Footballers playing such 'Touch Football.' Their 'first touch,' is amazing; they move so fast that you find hard to keep track at times; they love to keep the ball and roam around with it and they press with immediate effect. The impact will make you fond of them. You won’t need any more evidence.

'You need to remember their age. They are not even 15. Their biggest strength is that they learn fast,' Head Coach Goutam Ghosh states a day prior to India's second match in the AFC U-16 Qualifiers against Lebanon. For the record, Lebanon, more physical that India's U-15 boys won their first match against Bhutan 4-2 only to go down to hosts Kuwait 1-5 in their second match.

'It was a bad day for us. But we have to come back strongly and we have a day to recover,' Lebanon Coach Ibrahim uttered at the post-match Press Conference. India were held 1-1 by Tajikistan in their first match. 'The positive stays that in our first match you didn't play to your full potential,' Scott O’Donell, the Technical Director, AIFF Academies and Director, Coach Education, who's in Kuwait City as an Observer, stated. Head Coach Gautam Ghosh, standing next, nodded.

'I have seen you play against First Division sides from Kolkata Football League. You even played the UAE U-17 Team the other day. Didn't you play better?' Ghosh queries next. This time the boys nod. 'We had our moments against Tajikistan and we need to capitalise on them. It was the first-ever AFC Match for the boys. We need to plug in the holes and improve on our positives,' Ghosh pronounces.

An one-all draw against a very powerful Tajikistan suits India at the moment. There's always that psychological comfort. After all, Tajikistan pumped in a dozen goals against Bhutan in their second match. Can India prevail over Lebanon? Ghosh says: 'Our boys have settled down and will go out and play. We are confident about their potential.'

The video sessions follow, the boys stay glued. They stay open, devoid of any tension. The match at the Al-Salem Stadium on Wednesday (September 25) is at IST 10.30pm (Kuwait Time: 8pm).



2014 AFC U16 CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS

21.09.2013: India u16   1-1   Tajikistan U16 ( Kuwait - FT.)
: TAJ : Saidov 36'
IND : Prosenjit 57'
IND : Dheeraj, Jayananda, Jerry, Prosenjit, Kharlukhi, Anirudh, Bedashwor, Deependra, Amit ,Kapil, Muchahary.