India announce squad for U-17 World Cup
India announced their squad for the FIFA U-17 World Cup today, the country's first ever participation in a FIFA event. The 21-member squad includes goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh, defenders Boris Singh, Jitendra Singh and Sanjeev Stalin, midfielders Suresh Singh and Amarjit Singh, and forward Aniket Jadhav, regular starters at the AFC U-16 Championships.
"We believe that we are prepared for the FIFA U-17 World Cup," head coach Luis Norton de Matos said after the draw. "We have worked hard and made progress, but at the same time we go directly to a high-level competition against some of the best teams in the world.
"We will fight to win each match even if there is only five percent chance of winning. We will not give up and nothing is impossible in football. We plan to show the world that we are on the same page as them."
The team features 12 of the 21 that were a part of the same U-16 team that played in Goa in September last year.
India have played a number of friendlies in 2017, beginning with the invitational Granatkin Cup in Russia in January, where India's only win in six matches came against Belarus. Then coach Nicolai Adam quit following the Indian team's return from Russia, and under new coach Matos, India played friendlies against club teams and representative sides of Portugal, Italy and Hungary through most of the summer.
Following the U-17 World Cup draw in Mumbai in July, the team played an invitational tournament in Mexico, where they were beaten 5-0 by the Mexico U-17 team and 3-0 by Colombia U-17. They finished the tour strongly where they drew 1-1 against the Chile U-17 team.
"Against Chile and Macedonia, we registered good results but the FIFA U-17 World Cup will be a competition and competitions are different from friendly matches," Matos said. "However, the level of the players is very high and we plan to give it our all once the FIFA U-17 World Cup kicks-off."
The team announcement happened soon after India beat Mauritius U-17 3-0 in Goa, with Boris Singh and Aniket Jadhav both among India's scorers on the night.
India have been drawn in Group A alongside USA, Colombia and Ghana, and will face USA on October 6, followed by Colombia and Ghana on October 9 and October 12 respectively at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.
GOALKEEPERS: Dheeraj Singh, Prabhsukhan Gill, Sunny Dhaliwal
DEFENDERS: Boris Singh, Jitendra Singh, Anwar Ali, Sanjeev Stalin, Hendry Antonay, Namit Deshpande
MIDFIELDERS: Suresh Singh, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Abhijit Sarkar, Komal Thatal, Lalengmawia, Jeakson Singh, Nongdamba Naorem, Rahul Kannoly Praveen, Md. Shahjahan
FORWARDS: Rahim Ali, Aniket Jadhav