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Our Opponents Are Humans, Everyone Can be Beaten, Says Upbeat India U17 Coach

Coach Luis Norton De Matos seemed to be well aware of the gigantic task in his hand but also showed confidence in his team as he spoke to the Indian media for the first time on Thursday.

Arjit Dabas | News18 Sports

Updated:July 21, 2017, 2:38 PM IST
Our Opponents Are Humans, Everyone Can be Beaten, Says Upbeat India U17 Coach
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India is all set to make their FIFA World Cup bow when the U17 boys take the field in less than three months time.

Coach Luis Norton De Matos seemed to be well aware of the gigantic task in his hand but also showed confidence in his team as he spoke to the Indian media for the first time on Thursday.

"I know it is going to be difficult, India has no history in world football. Teams like Brazil, Mexico will come into the tournament having atleast 10 years of competition experience. We have played friendlies but those are games without points. Competition pressure changes everything." the coach said.

When asked about the mental aspect of the competition by News 18, considering it will be a first time for many of these boys at the world stage, Luis Norton said that he was satisfied with the support he was getting from AIFF.

"I am the first psychologist of the team, I try to speak to the players and share my knowledge. We are fully prepared , we have seen footages, videos. In the end, we are playing humans and not extra-terrestials."

Luis Norton took over from Nicolai Adam who had to leave after players revolted against the German, comparing his style with the predecessor, Luis Norton said, "I want to be a leader who guides players, I am not a chief who lays down instructions. My first job is to give confidence to the players. All coaches are different and German football is different from Portugese football."

Talking about his tactics and what to expect, the coach said, "Like a pianist needs a piano, a footballer needs a ball. Earlier, the team used to play more direct. We need to keep the ball. If we keep the ball, we can rest otherwise we will just keep running behind the ball. In the past few months, we have done some very good work, and reduced spaces in the field. I have had some good sessions, but we need to concentrate very hard in the next few months."

Luis Norton was surrounded by two of the team's key players - Rahul KP and Shubham Sarangi.

Shubham was all praises for the coach, saying that he was a good coach and a good human being. "Not only is he teaching us what to do on the field, but he is also helping us off it. We are improving under him and are pumped up for the World Cup."

The Portugese chose not to talk about the teams strength and weaknesses, saying that isn't something which concerns him.

"The most important thing for me is the reaction of the players to the proportion of the work and i can tell that they work at their 100%. As a coach, I have to sometimes tell them to take it easy. We have to be intelligent during the game."

The AIFF had organised exposure trip for the boys to get them a feel of what to expect once the tournament kicks off. The team again heads off to Mexico, where they will play against the hosts, Colombia, Brazil and Chile.

"We have had good practice so far, I think our game against Serbia was the only one out of 25 matches we played where we didn't have a chance to score but we played in tight channges and players grouped well together, its not important to be defensive, its more important to be organised. The tournament in Mexico will give us more details about what to expect. It's important to not be surprised by the opponents." Luis Norton added.

The coach was however careful not to increase the expectations of the fans.

He said, "I know our possibilities are small when compared to the likes of US - who have missed this tournament only once, twice World Champions Ghana and Colbia, which is one of the best teams in the tournament. But when the draw finished, two of my players present there said coach we are going to win this, This is the kind of mentality we want to have. Football is an unpredicatable game and even if we have 5% chance, we have to make the most of it."

While it would be foolhardy to expect any miracles from the debutants, the team does seem to be giving enough confidence that it will make the country proud with its performances.

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| Edited by: Arjit Dabas
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