Must Not Over Estimate Our Potential: Bibiano

Tuesday, 29 August 2017|AIFF Media

After clinching the SAFF U-15 Championship, coming from a goal down to win 2-1 against Nepal in the Finals, the Indian U-15 National Team has already set its eyes on another target – the AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers. In a freewheeling interview, Head Coach Bibiano Fernandes talks at length about the U-15s progression, the road ahead, the AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers, and a lot more. EXCERPTS:

How has the progression of the Indian U-15 National Team been?

It has been an upward climb in the performance of the squad. The exposure trip in Egypt where we played two friendlies immensely helped us in the development and the progression of the squad was visible in the SAFF U-15 Championship.


How tough is the Team mentally? Given India made a comeback in the finals.

It says a lot about a Team’s character and mental strength when a Team is trailing at half-time in a Final. The boys showed how strong they are when playing together as a single unit. Both goals we scored in the second half were because of playing together and it was fantastic to see the boys elevate each other’s spirits.


What is your assessment of the Team’s performance in the SAFF Championship?

The strength of our Team depends on the unity in the squad. Everyone picks each other up and the best example of that was the Final of the SAFF U-15 Championship. Squad chemistry is another aspect which was largely visible and both and off the pitch the squad gels together fantastically. It is all about the Nation for the boys.


What next for the U-15s?

There has been an exposure tour planned for the Indian U-15s in Qatar and we will be playing a couple of matches against the Qatar National team on September 03. Facing a stronger and technically better opponent will help us aid in our development as we look forward to the AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers.


India has been drawn in a tough Group for the AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers.

The AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers will be a test of our credentials. Although the SAFF Championship win is a big morale boost for us, we must not over estimate our potential as the road is long and every match that we will play in the AFC U-16 Championship will be no less than a final for us.


What is your assessment of India’s opponents in the AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers?

Nepal, Palestine, and Iraq are in our group and we have already clashed against Nepal. Still all three Teams will project their own challenges and hardships. The boys are ready and gearing to give their all in the matches, but it will not be an easy road for us.