It’s been three days since U19 coach Luis Norton de Matos has declared his squad for the 2018 AFC U-19 Championship qualifiers. Matos picked his squad after a week-long camp in the capital which is a mix of India’s U-17 World Cup squad and India’s U-19 team which played in the SAFF U-19 Championship in Bhutan. 14 players from U17 team and 9 from the U19 team has made the cut. This team is already in Dammam ( Saudi Arabia ), where they will play on 4th,6th and 8th November against Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Turkmenistan respectively. But before that the newly formed U19 team will face Qatar U19 team tomorrow in a practice match.
Here is schedule
Before going into details here is the complete squad –
Goalkeepers: Dheeraj Singh, Prabhsukhan Gill, Mohammad Nawaz.
Defenders: Boris Singh, Jitendra Singh, Anwar Ali, Sanjeev Stalin, Sahil Panwar, Deepak Tangri, Namgyal Bhutia, Asish Rai.
Midfielders: Suresh Singh, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Amarjit Singh, Jeakson Singh, Nongdamba Naorem, Rahul Kannoly Praveen, Roshan Singh, Abhishek Halder, Princeton Rebello.
Strikers: Rahim Ali, Lalawmpuia, Edmund Lalrindika.
While important member of U17 like Aniket, Sarkar was dropped, Komal Thatal is reportedly missed out because of fever.
On the week long camp, this newly combined U19 squad has already played a practice match against Garhwal FC. The practice match, which was won by India U19 by a goal was a good platform for Matos to try different combinations and test the U18 players. According to our sources, Matos was impressed by three U19 players, they are- Edmund Lalrindika, Abhishek Halder and Deepak Tangri. These three players are expected to make their place into the Playing eleven. Along with these three players, two more players that is Sahil Panwar( Left Back) and star U19 player Princeton Rebello ( CAM ) is also expected to be preferred by Matos. Since Matos used 4-4-1-1 in World cup matches, we feel he won’t change the formation in the qualifiers too.
So here is the playing eleven along with their substitute in 4-4-1-1 formation
This squad solves( at least on papers) many problem that then both INDIA U17 and U19 faced. India U17 had quality Defenders and Defending Midfielders but lacked in attacking department. On the other hand Attacking unit of U19 team was very strong but it is the defense which let the team down. Matos has carefully retained his defense and replaced the attack with talented U19 players. Getting Edmund as Striker must have given Matos great relief. Edmund is a strongly build forward with great pace and finishing skills. He was exactly the guy that Matos must has been looking for. The lack of good finisher was clearly visible in U17 WC and inclusion of Edmund will be huge boost for the team.
Princeton Rebello and Lalawampuia will play the role of Aggressive Midfielder or secondary Striker. Again both these two players are gifted with great finishing skills and creativity in attacking Midfield. Both of them have scored some stunners in SAFF U18 cup.
The inclusion of Abhishek will further improve the already good looking Midfield. We expect him to start ahead of Amarjit Kiyam. In absence of Komal, either Rahul, Naorem or Roshan will take responsibility as Left Midfielder.
Though on our predicted eleven we have included Sahil and Deepak on the defense, there is huge possibility that only Deepak Tangri will make it to the main eleven.
Strengths and weaknesses
The team is looking strong at least on paper, the attacking department is strengthens, physically the team is looking strong and looking well balanced but as these players haven’t played with each other much, there will be some uncertainty about the coordination.
Prior to last weak. The then U19 team have never played under Matos, hence naturally it will take some time for them to adjust with the game plan. We hope that they feel at home quickly and at least by the qualifiers they build some coordination among them. Tomorrow’s match against Qatar U19 will surely be a litmus test.