New Delhi, Feb 4: Keeping in mind the Under-17 World Cup at home in 2017, India's U-17 national coach Nicolai Adam stressed that his immediate goal is to help the side reach the semi-finals of the 17th edition of the AFC U-16 Championship scheduled to be held from September 15 to October 2 in India.
The biennial international youth football championship is organised by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for the men's Under-16 national teams of Asia.
The tournament will be held in India, and is scheduled to be played from September 15 to October 2. A total of 16 teams will play in the tournament.
Just like in the previous editions, the tournament acts as the AFC qualifiers for the FIFA U-17 World Cup. The top four teams of the tournament will qualify for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India as the AFC representatives, besides India who qualified automatically as hosts.
"For the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) Cup, our goal is to reach the semi-finals. It has not happened before and it would be historic. This is an immense task. If you ask me if we play horrible football and win the World Cup, would you take it? I would say yes, but still I think in youth football the responsibility is to teach the kids," Adam was quoted as saying by goal.com on Wednesday.
When the former Azerbaijan U-17 coach was asked what traits does he look for in the youth footballers, he said, "(I look for) Many different things - How do they handle the ball, quality in the air, acceleration, character - there are a lot of things. The most decisive thing is the technical aspect of the game, strength etc. come later."
The Indian U-17 squad recently took on the Sports Authority of India's (SAI) Select XI in a competitive match as part of their preparations for the World Cup, and ended on the winning side, with the score-line reading 2-1.
"Our goal is to play a good World Cup. In general, the task is to play good football and help build this side as the best India has had. The fact that we might play Nigeria in the World Cup does not mean that we forget our style of play and put everybody in the defence," the 39-year-old said.
"I would not be a good coach if I make them play like this. The plan is to play a good World Cup but I don't want to play a tournament where we only defend. We want to give them good education, life goes on after football," Adam said.