Even as the entire Indian footballing fraternity have gone gaga over the Indian U-16 National Team emerging champions in the four-nation International tournament in Serbia, Head Coach Bibiano Fernandes isn’t willing to read much into it.
“It actually doesn't mean much as this is only the process for our main objective. We haven’t yet achieved anything much,” Bibiano told www.the-aiff.com moments after India beat Tajikistan 4-2 to emerge champions. “But yeah, I am very happy that the boys are showing great focus and hunger in the process,” he added. “Our main target is the AFC U-16 Finals Malaysia 2018.”
India defeated Jordan (2-1) and Tajikistan (4-2), both of whom have also qualified to the AFC U-16 finals before playing a goalless draw against Serbia to notch an inspirational triumph in the tournament.
The tournament was part of the series of India’s exposure tours which are being arranged by All India Football Federation and Sports Authority of India to help prepare the team in the best possible fashion for the AFC finals.
“The boys are growing in the right direction, but we’ve got a long way to go,” Bibiano cautioned. “There are so many aspects on which we need to improve tactically. These exposure tours making the boys more confident and capable,” he stated.
“The tournament was a great opportunity for our preparation and match temperament and gauging our fitness. The best part stays that we are improving with every match.”