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India's future U17 World Cup team: Coach Nicolai Adam still looking for finishing and defending talent

Mumbai: India's future Under 17 World Cup team may have hammered a select Western India Football Association (WIFA) XI at Cooperage on Monday night, but head coach Nicolai Adam is still in the hunt for lethal finishers and good 'one-to-one' defenders.

Four goals from striker Aman Chhetri, a brace from Komal Thattal and a goal apiece from Saurabh Meher and Abhijit Sarkar meant that India coasted past their opponents 8-0 -- the team's first public match since they started preparing around April this year.

 Indias future U17 World Cup team: Coach Nicolai Adam still looking for finishing and defending talent

India Under 17 team for World Cup before their first match in India. Photo: Pulasta Dhar / Firstpost

While 8-0 looks good on paper, India could have easily won by a dozen more goals -- and Adam admitted that his team suffered when it came to finishing: "Finishing our biggest problem. If you finish accurately then we can win better. Finishing is a problem, yes," he told reporters after the match.

About 300 people turned up for the match, the last one India plays before a much-needed break till the middle of January. The team then heads to play state associates in Kolkata and Guwahati -- which will double up as a scouting exercise for Adam.

The team has been on exposure trips to Germany and Dubai and when in India, they stay at the AIFF Elite Academy in Goa.

Adam worked wonders with Azerbaijan's youth teams before being appointed as India's head coach for the U17 World Cup which the nation is hosting in 2017. While he advocates a philosophy which includes keeping the ball low, avoiding high balls and playing combination football (all on display against WIFA XI), Adam also knows that it will be hard to execute this at the World Cup.

"We beat Lebanon and Bahrain with high scores but that will not happen at the World Cup where we will have to defend a lot and there will be a lot of high balls coming and that is what I am looking for -- players good one-on-one, and mentally strong -- who don't care about the crowd [pressure]."

So those are the two areas Adam will look to build on as he takes his team across the country before they most probably head to South Africa for a camp with a high performance centre.

The immediate goal though, is making it to the semis of the AFC U16 championship that also takes place in India as a precursor to the U17 World Cup.

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Updated Date: Dec 22, 2015 18:28:44 IST