After scripting a memorable 2-1 victory over Argentina Under-20 in the COTIF Cup in Spain, the India U-20 football team returned to India on Friday morning amidst fanfare.
“Every Indian should feel proud of the win,” coach Floyd Pinto stated moments after landing in Delhi.
“Not to forget, we also held U-20 World Cup runners-up Venezuela to a goalless draw,” he added.
“The boys had put up a great performance against Venezuela and after that match I said that they must raise the bar against Argentina,” Pinto said.
“The boys were extremely organised and focused. We got the goals at the right moments and the result was there for everyone to see,” the coach added.
Skipper Amarjit Singh mentioned after Aniket Jadhav got the marching orders in the second-half, they panicked a bit.
“We were never in a mood to just sit back and defend. We were also up there to show our worth against the mighty Argentine side,” a buoyant Amarjit said.
“But after we went one man down, we got into a tizzy. Then came the strike from Anwar and thankfully, we did it till the end,” he added.
Central defender Anwar Ali revealed that there was no mystery behind the free-kick and it is something where he always puts an extra effort during the sessions.
“Scoring against Argentina was something amazing. I’ll always cherish that. I always love to hit the target from free-kicks and do practice during practice,” Anwar informed, only to add: “The most important part of the free-kick was that it earned us a win. Otherwise, it would have carried little significance and no one would have remembered it either.”
Pinto expressed that he’s happy as “the team improved as the tournament progressed.”
“It was a great experience for us and I’m really happy that the team improved as the tournament progressed. I would like to thank AIFF and SAI for providing the boys with such an opportunity,” the coach expressed.
Centre-back Jitendra Singh, who was a revelation all throughout, stressed it was a “collective effort.”
“Not only did we work hard. We had to work collectively to get the job done. It was a great learning experience for us,” he maintained.
Goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Singh Gill admitted the team is now adept in dealing with “difficult conditions.”
“We have now learnt how to cope up with pressure at difficult conditions. We lost first two matches, then regrouped and drew with Venezuela and finally won against Argentina, that too after going down to 10-men. We have learnt how to react on difficult conditions,” he quipped.
Meanwhile, Aniket Yadav mentioned about the positive vibes in the dressing room. “We were very much motivated before the game and there was a positive vibe in the dressing room,” he stated.
Sahil Panwar added: “A win against Argentina will always be a memorable one and thankfully, I was part of this. Thank you all for your love and support.”