Photo :|10-Sep-2019 15:28

NEW DELHI: The India U-16 boys’ team may be facing a tough European team like Fenerbahçe SK in Istanbul, Turkey on Wednesday, September 11, 2019, but Head Coach Bibiano Fernandes is hoping to give the Turkish giants a “good challenge”.

“It is an exciting challenge for the team. To play against an elite club like Fenerbahçe is going to go a long way in knowing where we stand and also to improve ourselves,” said Fernandes. “We have watched a couple of their games and studied them a bit. But again, we will be focussing more on our strengths and hoping to give them a good challenge.”

The young Colts are playing in their third exposure tour as they prepare for the AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers, which are set to take place in Uzbekistan, later this month.

Having played their first exposure tournament in Italy, Coach Bibiano Fernandes’ boys moved on to Thailand, where they won all their four of their friendlies, before moving on the U-15 SAFF Championship, where they were crowned the South Asian Champions, winning all five of their matches.

Moving on to Turkey, the boys who will now be moving on to the U-16 Qualifiers later this month, extended their winning run to 10 matches, defeating Keciorengucu FC by a resounding 7-0 margin.

“Although we don’t want to get too carried away about the unbeaten run, it is still a good feeling. I have been telling the boys how important it is to cultivate a winning habit and thankfully, it is going our way and it gives the team more confidence as we head into an important tournament,” said Fernandes.

In the process of these 10 victories, Bibiano’s boys have scored 52 goals and let in only four. In fact, they have also not conceded a single goal in their last seven matches.

Despite such results, Bibiano has his feet firmly on the ground, as he looks to iron out the creases in the friendly against Fenerbahçe.

“There are a couple of minor tactical tweaks that we would be trying out. At the same time, there are a few players that I would like to try out in some different positions. It is always an advantage to be tactically flexible. We also have players who can play multiple positions,” he said.

The India U-16 boys are set to take on Fenerbahçe at 6:30 PM IST on Wednesday, September 11, 2019.