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03.10.2013 : AIFF PRESS RELEASE : India may not wear the favourites tag in their Group ahead of the AFC U-19 Championship (Qualifiers) which kicks-off on Friday (October 4, 2013) but they can surely roll back time to draw a lot of inspiration from the fact that the present bunch had come agonisingly close to qualifying in the Quarterfinals of the AFC U-16 Championships last year in Tehran.

In a match they should have won, the Indian U-16 National Team narrowly went down to eventual champions Uzbekistan, losing 2-3 in their first Group D encounter where they later held Syria and China to goalless and 2-2 draws respectively.

"It's a tough Group no doubt and there is no denying that we are not the favourites," Toal told reporters at the Pre-Tournament Press Conference here on Thursday (October 3, 2013). "We haven't played Qatar in the recent past and it would be an interesting battle. They are a very good side and we have to put our best foot forward. We have a young side with really good players who have been doing well as a unit. Let's hope for the best," added Toal.

In a Group that boasts of FIFA U-20 World Cup quarterfinalists Uzbekistan, hosts and 2012 AFC U-19 Championship Finalists Qatar, Turkmenistan and Nepal, the Boys in Blue will have to put together a string of good results which has been eluding them in spite of good individual-match performances in the biennial continental meet. "We have been very competitive in AFC Tournaments. We have had some very good individual results but have failed to put together a series of wins," Toal told www.the-aiff.com.

"We will try to put together a series of good performances again over the next ten days and there is no denying that it's a tough group we are in. We have to put our best foot forward," he added. The Indian U-19 Team, comprising of AIFF's Elite Academy Boys based in Goa, can take confidence from the fact that since February 2013 they have been on an unbeaten run winning 23 Friendly matches out of 26.

Apart from outwitting I-League outfit Salgaocar, and Goan heavyweights Vasco SC, the Boys impressed one and all last August with their adventures in China where they beat the Chinese U-17 National Team to a pulp scoring 10 goals in two Friendlies. This was part of their Exposure Trip ahead of the all-important AFC meet. The Boys also held Shanghai City Games U-19 Team to a 2-2 draw in the first match. But certainly, AFC Qualifiers is a different ball game altogether and Toal is aware of that.

"The fact that we have been doing well in the matches we have played coming into the Tournament will give a Boys the confidence needed. But AFC Qualifiers will be much tougher and competitive," Toal maintained. "Certainly results are not everything for age group teams but you don't have good players in a poor team. We have some very good players which reflect that we are good as a Team too. Now we have to translate that form here," Toal stated.

India's opponents and hosts Qatar, on the other hand, are on a high after their 2-1 double at home against the Greece U-19 outfit last week. "We have had good Exposure Trips in Spain and Tunisia from July before playing Greece at home last week," Qatar Coach Felix Sanchez told reporters here. We played the Spain U-19 Team in Spain apart for playing the Australian U-19 side at the same venue. It was a great learning experience for the Boys," he added.

The match at the Al Arabi Stadium kicks-off at 9:30 PM IST on Friday (October 4, 2013).



03.10.2013 : AIFF PRESS RELEASE : Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, had once said that it's 'dishonest' to 'believe' in something and not to live it.' On the day of the legendary Freedom Fighter's 144th birth anniversary, India U-19 Head Coach Colm Joseph Toal - in his seventh year with Youth National Teams - echoed Bapu's words on various aspects in a candid interview with www.the-aiff.com two days prior to the Team's first match against Qatar in the AFC U-19 Championships. EXCPERTS:

: India have been Clubbed with Uzbekistan, Qatar, Turkmenistan and Nepal in Group A. What are your expectations?

We know where we stand and stay aware of the Group which we are in. It's a tough Group and there is no denying that. Uzbekistan qualified for the U-20 World Cup Quarterfinals and Qatar are a very powerful side. The same applies to the other two Teams, Turkmenistan and Having said that, we have been very competitive in these Tournaments in the past and expect to be the same during the next ten days.

: You have guided the Indian U-16 National Team to unbridled success qualifying for two AFC Championships in 2008 and the Team also made it to the Final Phase in 2011. Expectations are very high whenever Colm Joseph Toal is at the helm of any AFC Tournament. How do you cope with it?

During my time here, we are still to qualify for the AFC Championships with the U-19 National Team. We are focusing on that at the moment. As you go higher up the pyramid, competition becomes all the more tougher. Asian countries focus more on their U-19 Team than they do on probably their U-16 Teams. We have had some very good individual results. It's just that we haven't been able to put together a string of good results in order to make the next grade. I remember in 2007, 2009, and 2011 we beat some very good Teams.

: What is yardstick of measuring development for age-group Teams?

As you go down the pyramid, results are probably not as important as development. To see half a dozen or even more players making it to the (Airtel) I-League and the National Team is much more satisfying than getting nine points and qualifying for the AFC Championship. You need to set long-term goals for age-group Teams.

: So winning is not important?

It is a phenomenon. Success breeds success. Since February this year, we have played 26 matches and won 23, drew 3, and that even includes our Exposure Trip to China. That reflects that along with development, you can get results too and I hope that we can continue this run here in Doha.

: What gives you more satisfaction, bagging trophies with the age group teams or seeing them graduate into the Senior Team?

It's nice to pick up the newspaper on a Monday morning and read match reports where our boys who have come through the National Teams Programme featuring in top teams and doing well. I remember the first group of Arrows in 2011 had 11 players chosen in Armando Colaco's World Cup Qualification Team. Six of those players went on to make their debuts for the National Team.

: These players will be out in the cold from here. Development won't be the only yardstick then as they join I-League Clubs. As their Head Coach what would be your advice for them?

First I would like to say that the AIFF Academies Project has been a real success. The U-16 Team did so well in the AFC Championship Qualifiers. Rob (Baan) and Scott (O'Donell) have done a wonderful job with this Project. Here in the Elite Academy we have a pool of talent. These Boys are really good. My advice for them would be that much more than football ability, they need to have a very strong mental attitude. During their time in the National Team Squads and the Elite Academy they have been looked after very well. They will not receive the same amount of support when they join I-League Clubs.

: Do you think the Clubs have the right kind of infrastructure for these Boys to cope?

Clubs like Shillong (Lajong), Pune FC, Salgaocar are starting to head in the right direction, building a Club and not just a first Team. This mentality has to change. It's not all about the First Team, it's about building and maintaining a Club for the future. The Clubs in India have been abdicating their responsibilities for too long regarding producing or developing players for their own Clubs and the National Team. You are strong believer of building relationships with your Players. Throw some light on how the kind of relationship you share with your wards on and off the pitch.

(Smiles). The only ones who you cannot fool are your players! They know how good or bad you are. The best part about my tenure here in India has been the Players. I have worked with Youth Development in and out for the last seven years and the most positive part of the experience has been working day in and day out with good young Boys.

: You have produced a lot of players who are doing very well at the National Level as well as in the I-League. Players like Lalrindika Ralte, Jeje Lalpekhula, Raju Gaikwad, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu among others, have been your products. Much more to come in the near future from this current crop? We have some very good players in this Squad and it is a very young group. From the 23 we have here, 14 are 17 years and younger. We have 4 boys, all 1997 born who will be eligible for the next AFC U-19 Qualifiers as well.

: How significant and helpful was the Exposure Trip in China?

It was very important. All Exposure Trips for Indian Teams from Senior to U-13 are vital. The first Arrows Squad in 2010-11 included 11 boys who had played U-16 in 2007-08 and U-19 in 2009. By the time they reached the I-League with the Arrows, those boys had played 33 International or Representative Matches outside of India. By the time they went to the Arrows in 2010 they had played in 9 different countries and 3 different continents. That is the type of International Exposure all our young players need.


Group A
 TEAM           P	W	D	L 	GF	GA	GD	PTS 
 India 		4 	1 	1 	2 	3 	7 	-4 	4 

4 October 2013 :: India   0-2   Qatar 6 October 2013 :: Nepal   0-1   India 10 October 2013 :: India   0-3   Uzbekistan 12 October 2013 :: Turkmenistan   2-2   India


12.10.2013: INDIA   2-2   TURKMENISTAN (FT)
India: Sarthak Golui 48, Udanta Singh 84
Turkmenistan: Berenov 9(PEN), Kovusov 84
India: Vishal Kaith; Sajid Mohd. Dhot, Sarthak Golui, Pawan Kumar, Soraisam Pritam Kumar Singh; Souvik Das (C), Lalrempuia Fanai, Kumam Udanta Singh; Isaac Chhakchhuak, Uttam Rai , Germanpreet Singh

10.10.2013: Uzbekistan 3-0 India
UZB : (Abdiev 44', 62' Davlatov 51'

AIFF MEDIA RELEASE : Abdiev Asliddin scored in each half to guide Uzbekistan to a 3-0 victory over India in a crucial Group A encounter of the AFC U-19 Championship (Qualifiers) here at the Al Arabi Stadium on Thursday (October 10, 2013).

Abdiev scored at the end of first half and beginning of the second half apart from setting up another goal to hand his side three important points. Uzbekistan are now nine points three matches while India are on three points from as many matches. We played against a very good side, Head Coach Colm Joseph Toal said at the post match Press Conference.

The best part from our perspective is that we kept them going for the entire 93 minutes. We had some good spells especially at the end of the first half. There was a penalty shout which I feel on another day may have been given.Against such a strong opposition you do need decisions to go your way and we were having a good spell at that time. Nevertheless, the stronger team won and I am happy that the Boys never let their shoulders droop, added Toal.

India looked the sprightlier of two sides in the opening exchanges. Daniel Lalhlimpuia sped down the inside right channel but failed to find Udanta inside the area as his cutback-pass was intercepted on its way. Uzbekistan relied on the breaks and earned three corners in the first fifteen minutes. All three did not trouble Indian custodian Vishal Kaith. Abdiev Asliddin had shot wide before that in the 9th minute.

The highest Ranked outfit in the Group started using their physical advantage to get the better of their counterparts, but the Indian backline kept shape and dealt with the pressure well. The wings got on the offensive at every opportunity and one such occasion saw Udanta–teed up by Germanpreet Singh– racing down the left flank before going to a challenge inside the box. Referee Mukhtar Saleh Ali Al Yarimi of Yemen waved played on.

As the match neared halftime, the duo of Germanpreet and Udanta gave the Uzbeks a tough time combining superbly on the left wing. India were creating a lot of chances in the final few minutes of the first half. Uzbekistan on the other hand, got one and capitalised on it.

Azimov Sardorbek cut inside fullback Gurba Gagrai on the left and fed Abdiev who made no mistake from close range, stabbing home across goal into the bottom right corner.The Uzbeks doubled their lead in the 51st minute when goalscorer Abdiev turned provider sending in a teasing floater for Davlatov Bobir to poke home.

Eleven minutes later Abdiev capped a good display to score his second of the night, climbing tallest to a Azimov corner.India came closest to reduce the deficit twice when substitutes SK Faiaz and Uttam Rai saw their efforts missing the target by a whisker and being saved brilliantly by the onrushing goalkeeper.

India play Turkmenistan next on October 12, 2013.

India: Vishal Kaith; Gurba Gagrai (Rupert Lamlang Nongrum – 45th), Pawan Kumar, Sajid Mohd. Dhot, Soraisam Pritam Kumar Singh; Lalrempuia Fanai, Souvik Das (C), Germanpreet Singh, Kumam Udanta Singh, Daniel Lalhlimpuia (SK Faiaz – 55th), Shaiborlang Kharpan (Uttam Rai– 77th).


06.10.2013: India U19   1-0   Nepal U19 (Qatar - 90+5' FT.)
GOAAALLLLLLLLLLL - 87' India scored goal through SK Faiaz (Sub of Daniel in 60').
India : Vishal, Gurba, Pawan, Sajid, Udanta, Daniel (Fiaz 60'), Souvik, Germanpreet, Pritam, Kharpan, Fanai.
Nepal : Alan, Sanjay, Kalu, Aditya, Bibek, Sulav, Anil, Heman, Suman, Ashim, Dhiraj

04.10.2013: INDIA   0-2   QATAR (DOHA - FT.)
QTR : Akram Hassan 60th, Abdullah 89th
India: Vishal, Gurba, Pawan, Sajid, Pritam, Lalrempuia, Souvik, Germanpreet, Udanta, Lalhlimpuia, Kharpan.



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.