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WAFF Cup 2018 showed glimses of the bright future of Indian Football!

The Blue Colts have achieved something considered impossible only a short while ago with their recent performances.
An Indian team has defeated Jordan 4-0, Iraq 1-0 and Yemen 3-0 in the same tournament. The same side was leading against Japan, but lost 2-1 at the final whistle. Yes, we are not talking about Indian aspirations. It has indeed happened.

The India U-16 side, coached by former Goan player Bibiano Fernandes, has achieved all of this at the recently-concluded WAFF U-16 Championship. With the AFC U-16 Championship to be held from September 20 – October 7 in Malaysia, the boys seem to be working on the right path.

Let’s talk about the WAFF Cup 2018 a little, the tournament where India has achieved such feats and then we will move on to the AFC tournament.

U-16 West Asian Football Federation Championship
The Indian team scored nine times, with everyone chipping in. From forward Rohit Danu to Captain Vikram Pratap Singh and from defender Harpreet Singh to playmaker Bekey Oram, every player has taken responsibility in the side.

The team usually lined up in a 4-3-3 formation, with inter-positional play a property of their style. The boys and the coach knew full well that mistakes will occur and thus, every lad in the team was pushed to the hilt. The pressing was impressive and the pair of Thoiba Moirangthem and Harpreet had the heart of defence watertight.

In the midfield, Ricky John and Oram managed to keep things ticking well. Oram, a #8 in this side, had been accorded with freedom and in tow with #10 Givson Singh Moirangthem, is one of the key elements of the side.

Heralded as one of the better talents in Indian football, Rohit Danu continued to plunder goals and was also the player to have been the centre of most attacks for India. Regular Captain Vikram Pratap Singh also scored aplenty and added a hat-trick to his name against Jordan. Singh has also played on the right wing and as a #10, showing his versatility.
India U-16 team
Ridge Demello should not go unmentioned, having done a good job down the left flank regularly. The Santa Cruz boy is always a threat with the ball at his feet and looked positively motivated under the tutelage of Fernandes.

Fernandes, meanwhile, has made sure the boys play the ball on the ground. There is no or very little selfishness in the squad, with everyone looking happy with the success, even the players at the bench. The young forwards have interchanged passes well and the neat interchanges in the midfield show that India have a secure future, if they continue their growth well.

Under the bar, Niraj Kumar has not been a pushover. Challenged well by Lalbiakhlua Jongte, Kumar is expected to start in most games after faring well against the West Asian countries. Thoiba Moirangthem always looks composed on the ball and is a treat to watch.
Conclusively, Fernandes has created a side that can excite, be disciplined and deliver. Let’s move on to the continental stage.