India colts get new head coach before U-17 FIFA World Cup

Former Portuguese striker has a Goa connection


March 2, 2017

/ By / Kolkata

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The u-17 Indian football team will soon start training under the ex-Benfica coach

The u-17 Indian football team will soon start training under the ex-Benfica coach

India’s run in the upcoming under-17 FIFA World Cup will now be helmed by the former Portugal striker and BL Benfica B coach, Luis Norton de Matos.

The upcoming U-17 FIFA World Cup will be hosted by India in October this year and being the host country, India hopes to revitalise its position as a football playing nation. After the controversial departure of Nicolai Adam as the head coach of the junior football team, over accusations of physically abusing the players, the AIFF was considering names for this responsible position. Luis Norton de Matos, one of the two names that were considered, was confirmed as the man who will be orchestrating India’s moves on the field, earlier this week.

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) Advisory Committee, which included representatives from the Sports Authority of India (SAI), met Matos before the veteran Portuguese front-man flew into Mumbai for a personal meeting with the AIFF president, Praful Patel.

Playing positively is the key

On Matos’ appointment, the AIFF President said, “It’s nice to have Mr Matos on board. His experience of handling youth teams will come in handy for the U-17 boys as we wish to leave no stone unturned to field a competitive team in the U-17 World Cup. I expect him to guide our boys to put up a strong performance in the World Cup.”

“My role will be to orchestrate everything wherein the players will be playing their part,” Matos told the AIFF Committee. “I admire AIFF’s vision and the U-17 World Cup will act as a base for development of football in India. The players need to believe in themselves to do something special for the country,” he stated.

The 63-year-old coach thanked the AIFF for making him a part of the project. Matos, like many other Portuguese, has an Indian connect, especially, with Goa. The Portuguese colony until 1961 was mostly constricted to the western state of Goa and there are stories that connect a number of Portuguese people to this part of India. “I do have an Indian connection as my great grandfather was born in Goa,” Matos informed.

As India gears up for the global event, the new coach is looking at a positive mindset that will set the stage for victory in the first match, which he thinks will make things easier for the team. “I will retain the positives of the last two years as we move forward,” he asserted.

Qualification rounds underway

As the young guns of Indian football start their training under Matos, the new coach will also keep a close watch on the qualification rounds, gauging the strengths and the weaknesses of the probable opponents.

From Asia, there are five teams, including India; Iran, Iraq, Japan and Korea DPR being the other four. New Zealand and New Caledonia have also qualified, from the Oceania region, after they reached the 2017 OFC U-17 Championship final held in Tahiti last month.

Participants from South America will soon be ascertained, followed by North, Central America and Caribbean, Europe and Africa.

The new coach will now have his work chalked out, measuring the strengths and loopholes of India’s probable opponents and preparing the boys for the competition.

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