NEW DELHI: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) announced on Monday that the Indian U-16 national side will participate in the fifth edition of the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) U-16 Boys Championship in Jordan. India will take on the hosts alongside Yemen and Asian heavyweights, Iraq and Japan.
The tournament kicks off Wednesday, August 1.
With the backing of the Sports Authority of India, the AIFF will bear all player expenses of the trip as it aims to provide the team “fool-proof” preparation for the AFC U-16 Championship in Malaysia which will be held in September 2018.
The Indian team has taken part in such ‘exposure tours’ earlier this month as well in China, Thailand and Malaysia where the boys played six matches against their U-16 national teams.
“The U16 WAFF Championship has teams which have qualified for the 2018 AFC U-16 Championship. We are entering the last phase of preparation and one of our key targets since January was to give the coach an opportunity to play against teams who have qualified for the 2018 Championship. If all goes as per plan in August, we would have played against half the Championship-qualified teams at least once,” National Team Director and former Indian captain Abhishek Yadav said.
"The significance of this tournament lies in the fact that it brings together teams qualified for the 2018 AFC U16 Championship, all in their last leg of preparations.
“Our boys will get a chance to play Iraq, the U-16 defending champions. That doesn’t happen every day. On top of it, we will also be playing Japan, perhaps the best U-16 Team in Asia.
“We have to thank WAFF for inviting us in what is essentially a tournament for West Asian national teams. I have mentioned earlier that we are working intently on improving existing relations to ensure the best possible opportunities for our male and female teams." he signed off.