Kolkata, May 17 UNI | 2 months ago

All India Football Federation's U-16 Kalyani Regional Academy will begin their campaign in the Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) against Frenz United Malaysia A in a Group A Match in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow.

The Match was earlier scheduled to be played today but due to "complications in visa regulations and flight tickets," the Organisers postponed it by a day.

The U-16 Championship is being played between 12 Teams who have been divided into two Groups of six Teams each. The six Teams would be playing on a Home and Away format with the top two from the each Group advancing to the semifinals.

The other four Teams in Group A are Frenz United, Indonesia; PVF FA, Vietnam; Timor Leste U-16 National Team and Home United SC, Singapore.

The Regional Academy boys, who had represented India in the AFC U-16 Qualifiers in Kuwait in September 2013 would be playing all their Home Matches at the Barasat Stadium in Kolkata.

Head Coach Goutam Ghosh sounds cautious prior to the first Match. "It's the first Match of the Championship, that too an away one. Our boys are all 15-year olds. We will be playing in different conditions and against all unknown sides. We need to respect our opponents and we will," he said.

Ghosh said the boys need to "recover fast after their hectic travel schedule."

"It has been a very long flight journey for the boys. In less than 24 hours, we had to travel through three time zones," he informed. "We left Kolkata for Bangkok yesterday and arrived in Kuala Lumpur today after a night's halt in Bangkok," he informed.

"The boys need sufficient rest to get ready for the opening Match. And the next Match, our first Home-Match on May 24 is also knocking on the door. It will be another race against time but that's the beauty of the Tournament," he stated.

"One may be forced to believe that the Kalyani Academy Team comprise of the U-16 National Team. But we need to remember that most of the Teams in the Championship are also being represented by their respective U-16 National Teams but under a different name," he quipped.

"Frenz United, Malaysia A, our opponents in the first match is also the U-16 National Team of Malaysia," he added.

This is the first-time ever that an Indian age-group Team is playing in such a format.

"I need to thank AIFF for providing us such an unique opportunity. The boys will get to play in different Countries against different styles. Travelling is such an integral part of Modern Day Football. From that standpoint, I would say the boys are lucky indeed," pronounced.

"Such formats are very much popular in Europe but you don't have any in Asia apart from this Championship."

The Kalyani Academy boys had finished third to Kuwait and Tajikistan in the AFC U-16 Qualifiers in Kuwait City in September 2016.

"This time, we had framed a 9-weeks plan for the ACT (Asian Championship Trophy) which was drafted in consultation with Scott O'Donell, Technical Director, AIFF Academies. After we regrouped in March 2014, the boys have responded well. We also played a number of Practice Matches to acclimatise, including Matches against I-League Players," Ghosh, an A-Licence Coach, added. THE Squad: Goalkeepers: Dheeraj Singh (Manipur), Subrata Das (West Bengal) Defenders: Jayananda Singh (Manipur), Jerry Lalrinzuala (Mizoram), T Kishan Singh (Manipur), Prosenjit Chakraborty West Bengal - may also play as a Midfielder), Amit Tudu (West Bengal), Amey Ranawade (Maharashtra) Midfielders: Bodo Baoringdao (Assam), Kyntiew Kharlukhi (Meghalaya), Anirudh Thapa (Uttarakhand), Deependra Singh Negi (Uttarakhand), Aaron Franklin (Goa). Forwards: Nijwm Muchahary (Assam) Krishna Pandit (Chandigarh), Nuruddin Sameer (Uttar Pradesh), Kapil Hoble (Goa), Laishram Bedashwor Singh (Manipur). The kick-off on Sunday is at IST 1800 hours.

(Posted on 17-05-2014)