Having come agonisingly close to level the match against strong Uzbekistan, Indian colts would like to ride on the positive verve when they take on an aggressive Syrian side in the AFC U-16 Football Championship here on Tuesday.
“We are looking forward to another tough game. They (Syria) are strong and aggressive who can play football at the same time. They need to be lauded for their fighting spirit, the manner in which they came back to equalise in injury time (against China),” the coach of the Indian U-16 team, Colm Toal, said.
India gave a mighty scare to Uzbekistan before going down fighting 2-3 in their opening group match of the championship yesterday.
India managed to come back twice through Uttam Rai, before letting Uzbeks off the hook 10 minutes prior to the final whistle, to lose the match.
The young Indian brigade, however, can hold their heads high after yesterday’s exhibition, as the same opponents had earlier thrashed them 9-0 in the qualifiers.
“It was disappointment against Uzbekistan. Having shown so much improvement since the last time we played them, it’s frustrating not to get a result which we deserved,” Toal said.
India, though, need to get their act right against the Syrian’s who rallied to level the match against fancied China.
However, Foal said a lot will depend on the fitness of the players ahead of the crucial tie.
“There’s hardly any recovery time for the players. The injuries sustained need to be healed and the physical reaction of the boys, whether the boys would be able to recover in time would play an important role. Our game is based on organisation and pressing. We do a lot of running around. The boys will have to be 100 percent fit,” he insisted.
Meanwhile, Syrian coach Muhannad Alfakeer deposed faith in the ability of his team, but pointed that lack of necessary exposure ahead of the tournament may have its affect on them.
“I am confident about the ability of my boys but they haven’t been tested so far,” Alfakeer said.
Syria is going through a political turmoil and that certainly had its effect on the team’s preparation for the championship.
“We couldn’t prepare much because of the situation back home. We have played international friendlies against Oman and Jordan prior to coming here,” he said.