The official draw for the AFC U-16 Championship India 2016 which will be held in Goa from September 15 – October 2 later this year culminated today in a glittering ceremony at Taj by Vivanta, Panjim, Goa.
Conducted by the Shin Mangil, the Director of Competitions, Asian Football Confederation, the ceremony was also attended by Goa CM - Laxmikant Parsekar, General Secretary of the All India Football Federation – Kushal Das and Tournament Director of the LOC - Javier Ceppi amongst others.
While the 16 participating teams were divided in to 4 groups as follows, it was also announced that the matches will be held at Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda and Bambolim Stadium. There will also be 6 other training sites which will be used during the course of the tourney.
U-17 Team India Head coach Nicolai Adam was pleased with the result of the draw. “I like the draw, when you look at the groups it's pretty even. We see this as a stepping stone to the World Cup; so the more difficult the opposition the better. We still have a long way to go though. All I want is good competition to prepare the World Cup, the motive is still to reach the semi-finals of the AFC championships,” Commented Nicolai post the culmination of the draw today.
This would be the third time that India is hosting a continental event in football and the honorable CM asserted how big an honour it is, in his address to the gathering, “Goa is the only State in India to have Football as the State sport. The State has played host to the prestigious 3rd Lusofonia Games wherein huge sports infrastructure were carried out, the Indian Super League in 2014 & 2015 and also hosted the ISL Finals 2015. Now with the Asian Confederation Cup 2016, BRICS U-17 Championship and the FIFA World Cup U-17 events, planned to be hosted in the State, we are going in the direction of making Goa, a Sport State and in time we will be looking at Sports tourism as a profitable venture. Goa is deeply committed to the development of Football, the Indian team that will participate in this World Cup Qualifiers has its home base here and all the National Football Academies are also in Goa,” Said, Shri. Laxmikant Parsekar, Chief Minister – Goa.
Also speaking at the ceremony, General Secretary of the AIFF, Kushal Das said, “For us it is a great honour to be hosting this tournament, it's a preparation for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 next year and I am certain Goa will leave no stone unturned to make this event a successful one.”
Group A: India (hosts), UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iran
Group B: Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam, Japan, Australia
Group C: Iraq, Oman, Malaysia, Korea Republic
Group D: Yemen, Thailand, Uzbekistan, DPR Korea