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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Indian football round-up: WAFF U-16 C'ship: India defeat Yemen 3-0

Indian football round-up: WAFF U-16 C'ship: India defeat Yemen 3-0

Last updated on: August 08, 2018 16:10 IST

The India Under-16 team

IMAGE: The India Under-16 team. Photograph: AIFF/Media

The India under-16 national football team maintained their winning streak after they defeat Yemen 3-0 in the five-nation WAFF U-16 Championship in Amman, Jordan.

After Central defender Harpreet Singh headed the first one in the 37th minute, two goals in two minutes immediately after resumption took the issue beyond Yemen's reach.

While the second goal was headed in by an ice-cool Ridge Demello in the 47th minute, Rohit Danu lobbed it over the rival goalkeeper a minute later, providing the perfect finish to a promising build-up.

Head coach Bibiano Fernandes lauded the boys for their 'fantastic display. "We are extremely proud of them. They came up with a superlative performance today and executed it to perfection. The tournament has helped us gauge where we stand and we go back much richer in experience," he stated post-match.

The U-16 boys, thus finished their engagements in the tournament, winning three matches and losing a close one to Japan. While the Indian colts had made short work of Jordan 4-0 in their opening encounter and accounted for current U-16 Asian Champions Iraq in the previous match by a solitary goal, they had lost lead and match to Asian powerhouses Japan 1-2 in their other match.

The tournament was a part of their exposure tour organised by All India Football Federation in conjunction with Sports Authority of India as preparation for the forthcoming Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-16 Championship Malaysia 2018 which is to will be competed among the top 16 teams of Asia.

The qualified teams in the AFC U-16 Championship have been divided into four groups of 4 teams each with the top two from each group advancing to the quarterfinals. India has been clubbed with Iran, Vietnam, and Indonesia in Group C.

The four semi-finalists will get a direct ticket to the next edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2019.

Don't see any reason to part ways with Constantine till Asian Cup: AIFF

Stephen Constantine will continue as India's national football coach at least till the 2019 Asian Cup, AIFF general secretary Kushal Das has said, putting to rest speculation about an abrupt sacking following complaints by senior players.

Terming the murmurs around Constantine as hearsay circulating in the social media, the top All India Football Federation (AIFF) office-bearer said they don't see a plausible reason to part ways with the coach till the end of the continental showpiece, when his contract expires.

In his second spell with the senior team, the British coach oversaw a dream 13-match unbeaten run that ended with a 1-2 defeat to Kyrgyzstan in an inconsequential away final group game of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifying campaign in March.

By the time India suffered that rare recent reverse in Bishkek, the team had made it to the Asian Cup, scheduled to be held in the UAE from January 5 to February 1.

"We don't see any reason to remove him. He has delivered the results, and moreover, the SAFF Cup is coming up and then there is the Asian Cup. His contract expires on January 31 next year," Das told PTI.

Specifically asked if Constantine is going to guide the team in the Asian Cup, Das responded in the positive.

Apparently, after qualifying for the Asian Cup final rounds, some senior footballers met the AIFF general secretary during a national camp in Mumbai, expressing their grievances.

"I do meet players, support staff on a regular basis. Players can have problems with the coach. I think these rumours picked up pace in the social media," Das said without divulging any further.

Having joined in February 2016, when the national team was at a dismal 173 in the FIFA rankings, Constantine took it to the top 100, for the first time in more than 20 years.

However, it was speculated that Constantine and captain Sunil Chhetri were not on the same page after the coach, responding to a question on the skipper's impassioned plea to people to come and cheer the team in the Intercontinental Cup in June, said his boys have done enough to not "beg" fans to come and watch them play.

"Look, I have said it before and I don't feel that we should be begging people to come and watch the national team," Constantine had said.

Interestingly, the AIFF had acted quite swiftly when complaints were made against the under-17 coach Nicolai Adam. Adam was forced to resign in the wake of players' complaints that the German was abusive.

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