The U-19 Indian national side locked horns with the U-19 team of Singapore on Wednesday evening at the Bambolim Stadium in Goa. The young guns of India fell prey to The Lions as the visitors capitalized from a penalty kick to snatch the victory from the Indian cubs.
The Indian squad's coach Floyd Pinto reviewed the match as he mentioned that the hosts didn't deliver their best performance. The gaffer was particularly unhappy with his attacking forces who had a bad day at office. Further, Pinto explained that he aims to select a well balanced squad for the upcoming SAFF championship and AFC competition, with the entry of several players returning from their duties in the junior division of India's top tier and IFA Shield.
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''The only thing that I can say is that we were not up to the mark, especially the three guys up-front. This is a lesson for them (the players) as well- you play well in the first game, you are supposed to be consistent in the next game too. So, certain players have that hunger to play, day in-day out, and certain players feel they have done enough. We have a varying squad like that. This helps me in analyzing the team as well, because post this match, there will be a lot of players coming from the U-18 I-League teams and IFA Shield, so I want to create that competition in this squad. This is because whenever we have to play SAFF or AFC, I do not want such a situation to repeat. I want each and every player to feel that he deserves to be playing in the starting XI,'' he expressed.
In the second half of the tie, coach Floyd introduced five fresh players onto the field to continue the home side's battle. On being questioned about his move of as many as five substitutions, he explained that he wished to gift game-time to each lad in the side. ''Post the first match, I felt if we do well in the first half, then I might as well give the other boys a chance because this was the first international friendly we were playing. So, it would be nice if everyone was given time on the field. So, that was the plan- we got these five days with 45 minutes down the clock because they have been with us for the last two years. They didn’t disappoint, but it was unfortunate for us to concede one goal,'' he commented.
After winning a game versus The Lions from Singapore and having lost one too, the young Indian side will now prepare for the 2017 SAFF U-19 Championship and 2018 AFC U-19 Championship qualification. The boss has claimed that the players will be called up for national duty ahead of the trip to Bhutan in the coming months. ''The next plan is to build up for SAFF and AFC. The first aim is to build the squad, so we are calling players now and hopefully in the month of July, when clubs don’t have any commitments with them, we get in about 25-30 players and finalize the squad and hopefully get some exposure-whether it is in India or abroad and build up for SAFF, which is at Bhutan in September,'' he revealed.
Finally on being asked if any locations have been decided as a part of the exposure visit, Floyd stated that he is awaiting a response from the Indian FA. ''We don’t have any trip finalized now but we have some exposure trips planned. Once the AIFF confirms, then we can know,'' he signed off.