SAFF U-18 Championships 2019: Coach Floyd Pinto says tournament will help India prepare for AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers

  • India coach Floyd Pinto is confident of his team continuing the winning momentum.

  • The Indian team begins its campaign on 23 September.

  • India will open their campaign against Bangladesh, followed by Sri Lanka.

Kathmandu: The Indian U-18 football team arrived in Kathmandu for the upcoming SAFF U-18 Championship confident of continuing the winning momentum, coach Floyd Pinto said.

The Indian team begins its campaign on 23 September.

 SAFF U-18 Championships 2019: Coach Floyd Pinto says tournament will help India prepare for AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers

Floyd Pinto with India U-18 football team players. @IndianFootball

The Blue colts head into the tournament after an intense training camp in Bhubaneshwar, and will look to build on their successful run in Vanuatu last month, where they finished in first place.

"After the good showing in Vanuatu the mood camp is very positive. All the boys are focused and determined to take the winning momentum into the SAFF Championship," Pinto said.

"We are confident in our abilities and have prepared well. We are looking forward to the approaching the tournament with positivity and putting our best foot forward in all our games."

The head coach also spoke about how the SAFF tournament will be a "step up" after the OFC Youth Development Tournament and will help his side prepare for the "acid test" — the AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers, where India will be up against Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.

"We expect stiff competition in Nepal from every team that we will face. We were successful in Vanuatu, and SAFF will be a step up from it. Hence, we need to keep improving ourselves and play with positivity," Floyd stated.

"A good showing in Nepal will mean we can shift our focus towards the AFC qualifiers, which will be another step up and most difficult as compared to all the other tournaments. We hope to continue the momentum and if we do so, it will give us great confidence."

The upcoming edition of the SAFF U-18 Championship is the third since the tournament's inception in 2015, with Nepal winning both times in the past.

India have been drawn in Group B and will open their campaign against Bangladesh on Monday, followed by Sri Lanka two days later.

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Updated Date: Sep 18, 2019 19:20:15 IST