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India U-16 football team to play in 4-nation meet

New Delhi, May 1: The Indian U-16 football team will face Jordan, Tajikistan and hosts Serbia in May in a four-nation tournament, an exposure meet to accelerate the preparations for the AFC Under-16 Championship later this year, it was announced on Tuesday.
The exposure tournament comes less than a month after the team played against the U-16 National teams of the US and Norway in the Sportchain International Friendlies.
All the exposure tours have been planned to help the team prepare in the best possible fashion for the forthcoming Asia U-16 Championship in Malaysia between September 20 and October 7. This is India’s third qualification to the AFC U-16 in the last four editions.
India have been clubbed with current runners-up Iran, Vietnam and Indonesia in Group C. Both Jordan and Tajikistan have also qualified for the AFC U-16 Finals. India head Coach Bibiano Fernandes feels it’s a “marvellous opportunity before the real test”.
“This 4-nation tournament is an extremely helpful project for us before the real test in September. It will help us gauge ourselves where we stand against the likes of Jordan, Tajikistan and of course Serbia. It will help us assert the areas which we need to plug in,” he was quoted as saying by a statement from the All Indian Football Federation (AIFF).
Referring to his team’s matches against a strong US and Norway, Bibiano stated the “boys have shown their mettle against them”.
“The US and Norway are much-respected footballing nations. But the boys played their hearts out. They look in good shape and are hungry to achieve more,” he added. IANS

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Ankur Kalita