VASCO (GOA): Nicolai Adam is an honest man.
“We just lost 3-1 to Tanzania. If I am honest, I have no problems admitting that we could have lost by a bigger margin,” he adds. “Our body language was bad, especially in the second half (against Tanzania) and it gave the impression that we didn’t want much,” he states during the morning recovery session as his wards jog around the ground.
“But Football God has been kind and has given us a second chance,”
It’s the ‘second chance,’ and it’s against United States of America. Not every day India gets to play them. Knowing that a good performance against them would make a real big statement not only in this Tournament but in the whole World, Nicolai informs his boys will show the “right attitude” when it kicks-off.
“I promise the boys will give their best against USA. They will show their best attitude on the pitch. I reiterate it wasn’t right in the second half in our last match,” he declares.
The boys, by that time, are still jogging.
How do you assess USA?
“They are a dominating Team. They will come hard at us,” he maintains.
Will two days of extra rest be an added advantage for them?
“You also need to remember that they flew into India and are trying to overcome the 12 hour difference in time zone,” Nicolai is honest again.
“The kids are a bit nervous wanting to deliver in front of the home crowd. This is also a learning process for them. We have the AFC U-16 Finals coming up and then the U-17 World Cup. We need to be able to deliver at a high level in front of home crowd in India. It’s a psychological aspect which they have to learn,” Nicolai quips.
USA had played Tanzania in their first match of the Tournament and it had ended 1-1. They headed to the AIFF Youth Cup after a triumph in a Youth Tournament in Europe.
“We have two back to back games against USA and then Korea Republic. They would be extremely difficult. But that’s the purpose of the entire Tournament – to understand where we stand,” Nicolai stresses.
The boys by then have finished and are having a sip.
“We are clearly not the favourites in the Tournament and have our goal defined, ie, to finish among the top four. If we even finish fourth, we get to play five matches. An extra match at this level is always a bonus.”
“When we went to Germany we played almost same quality of opposition. But we had adequate match practice prior to playing them. It’s difficult to pick up the speed in youth Football when they boys go for a month-long break,” he explains.
The boys by then have started to board the bus even as the cars speed by on the adjacent highway.
“The beauty of Football is that you can mess up but two days later you get a chance to do something better,” he starts walking towards the Team Bus.
That’s India’s second chance, that too against the mighty USA.
The kick-off on May 19 is at 8pm.
Korea Republic vs Tanzania (4pm – Tilak Maidan, Vasco, Goa).
India vs USA (8pm – Tilak Maidan, Vasco, Goa).
By Nilanjan Datta,
AIFF Media Team