India U-17 coach Luis Norton de Matos has declared that his team will go into tomorrow’s must-win U-17 World Cup match against Ghana looking for nothing less than a win. The Indian team currently sits on 0 points from two matches in Group A. But their performances in both games earned praise from the Indian football fraternity, as well as the general public who lauded the team’s drive and desire.
“The boys believe 100% that they can win the game and that is very important, because there is no point going into a game thinking that you can’t win,” Matos said. “In my professional life, the motivations is always the next game. And our motivation tomorrow is to confirm the progress we have made over the three games. We are going to fight for this. Every game has a different story, a different script. We want to finish the tournament with a very good impression, even if we don’t go ahead in the tournament. I am proud as a coach about their performance.”
Two Indian players were in conditional training today. Captain Amarjit Singh Kiyam and defender Anwar Ali’s fitness will be assessed before the match, with Matos also telling the media gathered at the Indian team’s training centre in New Delhi today to expect fresh legs against Ghana.
India scored its first ever World Cup goal across any level in the last match against Colombia, with Jeakson Singh’s header sending the 48,000 people present at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium into delirium. But just seconds after the re-start, Colombia took the lead once again due to a lapse in concentration. Matos described the moment Jeakson scored as ‘emotional’, and said that the boys will learn to keep their concentration as they play more competitive matches.
“The players were in a dream when they scored, it’s true. But they lost their concentration, and it’s natural because they don’t have the experience of playing in a lot of competitions. In the whole game, they did not make any mistake, there were so many offsides for Ghana. And in that one moment, there was a player who played three players onside. It was just a difference of one meter. Concentration will come from competition,” he said.
India have given a good account of themselves in the tournament so far, and the results in both games could have been starkly different too had Anwar Ali and Rahul KP’s shots which hit the post found their way into the net instead. The future is bright for this U-17 batch, who Matos believes can show the way forward for the next generation of young footballers and also play a prominent role for the national team in the future.