Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Sep 21 : India U-16 football head coach Bibiano Fernandes believes that even though the team has defeated Turkmenistan and Bahrain in the ongoing AFC Qualifiers, “the job is not done yet” as they face Uzbekistan on Sunday.
The U-16 boys won against Turkmenistan and Bahrain by identical 5-0 margins, and that has put them at a goal difference of +10. In contrast, Uzbekistan defeated Bahrain 3-1 and overcame Turkmenistan 3-2. That has put them on six points, but at a goal difference of +3. So even a draw against hosts and Asian powerhouses Uzbekistan would be sufficient for the Indian colts to direct qualify for the AFC U-16 Finals to be held in Bahrain next year.
As per the regulations, the 11 group winners, and the four best second-placed teams will make it to the Finals, with Bahrain being automatic entrants on virtue of being the hosts.
“We have had two good results. We need to go into the last game against Uzbekistan with the same attitude,” Bibiano was quoted as saying by www.the-aiff.com. “A draw is never in our mind.”
“We want to win it and come out of the group with nine points. We had set an objective of winning all three games in the group, before coming here, and we intend to fulfill that objective, regardless of what the equations are.”
Since 2011, the India U-16 national teams has made it to the AFC finals on three occasions — in 2011, 2015, and 2017.
Bibiano’s counterpart Azamat Abduraimov maintained that “India are a strong team.”
“It’s evident in the manner they play. Despite playing at home, we will respect them. We will go out to secure a victory, but that won’t be easy. It will be an interesting match,” Azamat stated.