Bibiano Fernandes – the head coach of India U-15 feels surprised with the goals made by his team at the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) U-15 Championship. He admits that none in the five matches played before shown such a high pump of 28 goals at the SAFF Championship at Kalyani Stadium in West Bengal.
He added, “I did not expect so many goals, but I knew that this group has the capability to score goals because we have good, some very good forwards. Our other offensive players are also capable of providing them with ample support in attack.”
He further stated that behind their teams’ dominant success in the tournament, there is a well-oiled scouting system. “Every team-building process must start with scouting,” “We started before February in the Subroto Cup. Then there was the Hero Junior League, and along with that, we had open trials in many states. I personally oversaw some of the trials, while (Assistant Coach) Kanan (Priolkar) also scouted in some states.”
He explains that the scouting process helps the coaches to build a strong team as scouting helps in the players to explore in various areas. When it comes to their team performance, their first exposure was during when they went to Italy and then to Thailand to ahead the SAFF Championship.
Our team was preparing from the beginning of the year. We played with many tough teams like USA, Mexico, Slovenia, and Qatar. He justified that, after returning, we could know where we were lacking and practiced hard to strengthen the squad.
“After the scouting process was done, we went to Thailand to test ourselves, which was also very helpful. It was after the Thailand tour that we knew that this team was ready for competitive international football at this age category.”
After achieving the SAFF Championship, the team is preparing for the AFC U-16 Qualifiers. For this, they will be clubbed with Group B along with Bahrain, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.
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