Liston Colaco from Goa has been named in the India U23 National team for the forthcoming AFC U23 Championship Qualifiers which is to be held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan from March 22, according to an all India Football Federation (AIFF) press release.
India coach Derrick Pereira also named ten 19-year-olds and even one 16-year-old in India’s 23-member squad
“We should be excited about the possibility of making history, quipped Pereira. “We need to find the right combination and fight with the correct spirit,” said Derrick.
India has never made it to the final round of the AFC U23 Championship until now. In Tashkent, India has been clubbed with defending champions Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
“This is why the friendly against Qatar was so helpful. They are a technically accomplished side, and we showed that we can perform well against such teams,” he said. “In our group, Uzbekistan is the team that has the acumen for such style of football, and judging by our last game, I think we can stand our ground against them,” stated Derrick.
India had controlled large bouts of possession against Qatar, whose senior team had clinched the AFC Asian Cup title, earlier this year. Although the Blue Colts created a lot of opportunities, they failed to put away their chances, which is something that Derrick has been working on.
However, the 57-year-old believes that finishing is not the sole responsibility of his attackers. Instead, Derrick believes in an all-round approach, which would be more likely to improve India’s style of football.
“Scoring is not the only responsibility of my strikers. The whole team should work together to create opportunities. Whoever gets the chance, in the end, needs to keep calm and finish it, but the main emphasis is on teamwork,” said Derrick.