KOLKATA: Australia and China joined defending champion Korea as Kolkata geared up to host the Asian Football Confederation's Asian youth championship for the first time. The Kolkata leg of the tournament will begin on Sunday.
The Indian team, fresh from winning two friendlies in Laos, is already camping at the suburban centre of Kalyani, while the remaining teams, including Kyrgyzstan, Jordan, Thailand and U.A.E., are scheduled to arrive on Friday.
The Australians are eager to show their mettle, as they will be playing their first major AFC tournament.
The Australian coach, Ange Postecoglu, said three of his players play for different clubs in Europe, while several play in the domestic professional league. The coach felt this being the final stage in the age-group hierarchy, the tournament would bring up likely stars of the future.
The media manager of the Chinese squad, Patrick Lee, said four of his players had played for the senior national team of China. He said Australia and Korea are the two strong sides that will pose challenge to them.
He said that football was gradually attracting corporate sponsorship in China and the boys were keen to prove themselves to get into a successful professional career. - Principal Correspondent