New Delhi [India], Mar 20 (ANI): India U23 National team head coach Derrick Pereira named ten 19-year-olds and one 16-year-old in the 23-member squad for the forthcoming AFC U23 Championship Qualifiers, scheduled March 22 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
"We should be excited about the possibility of making history," quipped Pereira. "We need to find the right combination and fight with the correct spirit,'' Pereira said in an AIFF statement.
India have never made it to the final round of the AFC U23 Championship until now. In Tashkent, they have been clubbed with defending champions Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Pereira further went on to stress the importance of the friendly that India had played against Qatar, which he believes was a technically accomplished side.
"This is why the friendly against Qatar was so helpful. They are a technically accomplished side, and we showed that we can perform well against such teams. In our group, Uzbekistan is the team that has the acumen for such style of football, and judging by our last game, I think we can stand our ground against them," he said.
India had controlled large bouts of possession against Qatar, whose senior team had clinched the AFC Asian Cup title, earlier this year. Although the Blue Colts created a lot of opportunities, they failed to put away their chances, which is something that Pereira has been working on.
However, the 57-year-old believes that finishing is not the sole responsibility of his attackers. Instead, Pereira believes an all-round approach would be more likely to improve India's style of football.
"Scoring isn't the only responsibility of my strikers. The whole team should work together to create opportunities. Whoever gets the chance, in the end, needs to keep calm and finish it, but the main emphasis is on teamwork," Pereira said.
Following is the U-23 national team squad:Goalkeepers: Dheeraj Singh, Prabhsukhan Gill and Md. NawazDefenders: Narender, Nishu Kumar, Sarthak Golui, Gaurav Bora, Mehtab Singh, Anwar Ali and Asish RaiMidfielders: Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Vinit Rai, Sahal Abdul, Amarjit Singh, Rohit Kumar, Anirudh Thapa, Komal Thatal and Rahul KPForwards: Liston Colaco, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Rahim Ali and Rohit Danu. (ANI)