U-17 World Cup: Crunch group clash for India against Ghana

October 12, 2017

FIFA Under-17 World Cup

Reference: http://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/a-real-test-for-india/article19839606.ece

The Indians will face a real test at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium when they meet a supremely-gifted Ghana in a crunch group clash of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup here on Thursday.

It will be a critical game for Ghana, which would look to win to stay in the reckoning. Real test for India because it has fired the imagination of the youth who believe that their heroes can do it. If not presently then certainly in the future. It means pressure for the home team because of the high expectations.

“We will go for nothing less than a win. We have shown the world that we belong on the same page as them and now we want to show that we can win against them,” announced India coach Luis Norton de Matos, whose movements in the dug out match those of his wards on the field. He exults when the boys create a scare in the opposition ranks and holds his head in despair when they falter.

Ghana is a formidable side. Physically challenging and combined with skills and endurance it can stretch the opponents. Matos knows it. “Ghana will be a physical as well as a mental challenge for us. They (Ghana) are a strong physical team who are quick on the ball. We would have to be on our toes for the entirety of the match if we are to secure a win,” he observed.

The Indians, following their excellent showing against Colombia, when they went down 1-2, can dream to win. Their fans believe they can pull it off. Matos struck an optimistic note, “however, the boys are ready for the challenge that will be thrown in front of them. We will give it our all and aim to make history once again.”

Future stars were born in that match against Colombia. Jeakson Singh, who rose to great heights with a header that shook the Colombia fort, became the first Indian goal scorer in the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Dheeraj Singh, a rock under the bar and Anwar Ali, the indefatigable and fearless defender, have played with astounding spirit and flair.

Jeakson echoed Matos’ view. “They (Ghana) are a very strong side. But we are ready and prepared. It will be a physically taxing battle against Ghana but I reiterate, we are ready,” he added.

Skipper Amarjit Singh joined his colleagues in raising hopes of a fine contest. “We have the utmost respect for our opponents but we will give them a very tough fight, even tougher than we gave Colombia. It is a matter of survival and we will do anything to go into the next round.”

For Dheeraj Singh, the fans hold a special place. “Against Ghana we will need a lot of support. We will give it our very best on the pitch. I expect all to be cheering for us like they have done for us. We won’t disappoint them. Come and back the blue,” he stated. The stands would be teeming with support for India.

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