With less than 100 days to go for the FIFA U-17 World Cup, India head coach Luis Norton de Matos believes that hosts will be looking forward to the challenge presented and make an impression once the prestigious event kicks-off in October.
Speaking at a press conference, the Portuguese coach said, "The team has progressed a lot and with less than 2.5 months to go, the squad will be giving their best in preparation. We are very confident going into the World Cup."
"However, competition changes everything, there is added pressure, and then it depends how the players will react."
"The next coming months will be tough because the players will have to concentrate hard, but as a Team we cannot be more confident going into the first game, because I believe we can make an impression", Matos added.
India has been drawn into Group A of the World Cup along with United States of America (USA), Colombia and Ghana. The hosts will clash swords against USA on October 6, before facing Colombia on October 9 and Ghana on October 11.
Quipping on the group India have been drawn in, Matos stated, "Our possibilities are small but we have a winning mentality. We have the winning spirit in us and will give our cent percent even if we have less chance of winning the match"
"After the draw, our Players (Sanjeev Stalin and Dheeraj Singh) told me that coach we can win against them. My goal is to show the world that the Indian team can play at par with the best of the world"
"We are not going to play against extra-terrestrials, we are going to play against humans, and the boys know that they can make an impression (in the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 India)", Matos informed.
In an effort to field a strong team, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has provided the U-17 world cup team an exposure trip of Europe wherein the Indian Colts faced Serbia, Macedonia and Benfica SL among other club and national teams.
The Indian Colts next, would be flying to Mexico to partake in a tournament featuring Mexico, Chile, and Colombia in August as part of exposure. The world cup squad will also be playing international friendlies against Mali, Australia, and other Countries.
"We have progressed a lot as a team in the last few months. We have produced good football but it does not matter when there are no points for your performances. However, we showed in Europe that Indian players are at par with European Players," said the India head coach
"Indian Players can play like Portuguese players with holding the ball, keeping the ball and playing with the ball. And India has the potential to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in the next coming years."
"We have spent hours on developing the passing technique and playing in close quarters and in the next few months we will be doing further good things," the Portuguese said.