New Delhi: India U-16 National Team coach Bibiano Fernandes announced the 23-man India squad for
the forthcoming AFC U-16 Qualifiers to be held in Taskhent, Uzbekistan.
India have been placed alongside hosts Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Bahrain in Group B in the
qualifiers, and are set to face Turkmenistan on September 18. The Bibiano-led side is on an 11-match
winning streak, that includes wins from their tour of Thailand, in the SAFF Championship, and the recent
two friendlies the side played in Turkey, earlier this week.
“The team is as ready as ever for the AFC Qualifiers. We have all been preparing for these three matches
for months now. We have our sights set firmly on them,” Bibiano stated after the team touched down in
The 42-year-old believes that apart from playing in an invitational tournament, the Torneo Del Nazioni in
Italy, and the two exposure tours in Thailand and Turkey, the Blue Colts also gained significant
experience of playing competitive International matches in the SAFF U-15 Championship last month.
“We have had a good preparation for the tournament over the last couple of months. The SAFF
Championship certainly gave the boys good experience of International football, whereas we faced
some tough opponents in Turkey. So all in all, it has been a was a good rehearsal.”
Regarding the issue of acclimatising in Uzbekistan, the head coach feels the boys would not have any
problem in adjusting to the conditions after playing in the harsh weather back in Kalyani, West Bengal
during the SAFF Championship.
“I don’t think the weather in Uzbekistan would be much of an issue. It is basically optimum temperature
here. Back home it’s much humid. So it isn’t much of an issue for us,” Bibiano continued.
Bibiano, who had led the previous batch of India U-16 side to the AFC U-16 Championship quarterfinals
which was India’s joint-best finish in the age-group tournament, will be aiming to qualify once more, as
they will take it one game at a time.
“Our main objective is to go game-by-game and qualify for the AFC U-16 Championship next year. If we
stick to the plan, keep our heads down, and play our football, I believe that we can make it to yet
another AFC U-16 Championship Final,” he quipped.
India’s fixtures in the AFC U-16 qualifiers stay as follows:
September 18: India vs Turkmenistan (IST 4.30pm).
September 20: Bahrain vs India (IST 4.30pm).
September 22: India vs Uzbekistan (IST 4.30pm).
The 23-member squad for the AFC U-16 Qualifiers is as follows:
GOALKEEPERS: Aman Kumar Saini, Mohit Singh Dhami, Ayush Deshwal.
DEFENDERS: Paogoumang Singson, Shameek Caine Vas, Ranjan Soren, Amandeep, Pritam Meetei
Sorokhaibam, Anish Mazumder, Halen Nongtdu.
MIDFIELDERS: Satvik Sharma, Sibajit Singh Leimapokam, Maheson Singh Tongbam, Renedy Meitei
Yumnam, Aula Siba Prasad, Taison Singh Loitongbam, Ratanbi Singh Chaphamayum, Yoihenba Meitei
Sukham, Amosa Lalnundanga.
FORWARDS: Himanshu Jangra, Sridarth Nongmeikapam, Shubho Paul, Isac Zomuanpuia.