After playing in the four-nation tournament in Croatia against U-19 Youth Team of World Champions France, Runners-up Croatia, and Slovenia, the U-19 National Team will be travelling to Serbia to play two back-to-back International Friendlies against Serbia U-19s on September 13 and September 17, 2018 respectively in Serbia.
Both the matches are part of the exposure tour being organised by the All India Football Federation in coordination with SAI to provide the best possible preparation to the U-19 boys for the forthcoming Hero I-League season, and an eye on U-19 AFC Championship qualification next year.
National Team Director Abhishek Yadav said playing regularly against youth teams of nations in top 50 of FIFA Rankings has its own significance.
“Serbia will be the fifth top-50 team (as per the FIFA rankings) that we will be facing within a month-and-a-half. In a 50-day period, we will be competing six matches under our belt against regular World Cuppers from the two continents of World Football — South America and Europe,” he stated.
“The matches have been part of competitions so there has been that added edge. The players and our all-Indian staff are learning from these tough tests. Motivation levels are now much higher. I am satisfied with the way we were able to design this pre-season and this is the way we aim to continue,” he added. “I am optimistic the influence of all these programmes will be seen for long to shape up a better future for Indian Football.”
The Indian U-19s had earlier participated in the COTIF Cup in Spain before flying to the Croatia for the Four-Nation Tournament. In the COTIF Cup, the Indian Colts had defeated U-20 Argentina 2-1 and held U-20 World Cup runners-up Venezuela 0-0.