AFC U-17 Asian Cup: A guide to India’s opponents in Group D

BANGKOK, THAILAND: India’s campaign in the AFC U-17 Asian Cup will get underway in just two days, and the Blue Colts have now shifted base from the serene Khao Yai Sports Complex to the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, the capital of Thailand.

Coached by Bibiano Fernandes, the India U-17s have had a long and arduous preparation for the AFC U-17 Asian Cup, and are now set to take on Group D, where they will face Vietnam (June 17), Uzbekistan (June 20), and Japan (June 23). While the opponents may be tough, Bibiano’s boys look ready for the challenges ahead.

We take a look at the three opponents, and what they have to offer, as the clock winds down to the kickoff of Group D.

Vietnam: A disciplined unit

It was pure elation for India in the last edition of the tournament (back then known as the AFC U-16 Championship) in 2018, when Vikram Partap Singh converted an 86th minute penalty to hand India the lead and the match against Vietnam, which eventually helped them make it to the quarter-finals.

The Golden Star Warriors are a well disciplined unit that are known for their fast pace of play, and the technical ability and creativity to pass the ball around the opposition defenders.

They have also known to be solid at the back, having not conceded a single goal in their qualification campaign last year, where they faced Chinese Taipei (4-0), Nepal (5-0), and Thailand (3-0).

Captain Nguyen Cong Phuong is one of the key players of the Vietnam U-17 side, playing a pivotal role in the middle of the park, as he sits back to orchestrate the attacks for his team.

Uzbekistan: The familiar foes

Familiar foes Uzbekistan are strong contenders for the AFC U-17 Asian Cup. India have already played the Uzbekistan U-17s in two friendly matches in Goa, earlier this year; they one the first match 2-0 and lost the second one 0-3. Previously, the U-16 sides of the two nations also faced off in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in the AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers in 2019, a match that ended 1-1 to help India qualify for the championship as the group toppers.

The White Wolves had an excellent qualification campaign last year, routing Brunei 14-0, before a last-minute goal helped them win 3-2 against the mighty Republic of Korea.

Captain Lazizbek Mirzaev is one of the players to watch out for, with the Uzbekistan U-17 side, as the attacking midfielder uses his technical ability and creativity to prise open opposition defence. Already playing in the Lokomotiv Tashkent senior side, Mirzaev is one of the most influential players for Uzbekistan.

Earlier this year, Uzbekistan U-17s where crowned champions of the Antalya Youth Cup in Turkey, where they have defeated teams like Morocco (2-1), the Czech Republic (1-0), and Australia (2-1). Ahead of the U-17 Asian Cup, they have played Malaysia once (3-2) and Yemen twice (5-1 and 2-0).

Japan: Out to defend their glory

Defending champions Japan are the most successful team in the AFC U-17 Asian Cup (previously known as the AFC U-16 Championship), having lifted the trophy on three occasions.

Japan finished top of their group in the AFC U-17 Asian Cup qualifiers, and even ended their qualification campaign without conceding any goals. Coached by Yoshiro Moriyama, the Samurai Blue have slightly altered their approach to the game this time around. While they still possess the ability to control possession of the ball, Japan have recently shown the propensity for quick transitions with two strikers playing up front.

Ahead of the AFC U-17 Asian Cup, Japan have played a tri-nation tournament in Algeria, where they faced the hosts (3-3), Mali (3-1), and Comoros (6-1). They also played the Copa Joaju last year, where they faced Chile (4-1), Colombia (0-1), and hosts Paraguay (3-3).

Homare Tokuda, who was their chief goalscorer last year is no more with the team, and the goalscoring responsibilities will fall on the shoulders of Yutaka Michiwaki and Rento Takaoka, who had scored four and three goals, respectively, in Algeria.

Also ReadMumbai City FC partners with OSCAR Foundation to launch ‘Healthy Goals’ program

Also ReadFC Goa add more firepower with the signing of Udanta Singh on multi-year deal

Mastering the Art of Football Trials: Key Pre-Trial Factors to Keep in Mind

Football trials are a critical juncture for aspiring players to showcase their skills and secure a spot in a team. To maximize your chances of success, it’s essential to tailor your approach based on your playing position as well as keeping in mind a few pre-trial factors.


Somaiya Sports Academy to conduct trials for MFA 2nd Division campaign

Somaiya Sports Academy is looking for passionate young football players for the Somaiya Sports Academy Football Team to compete in the MFA 2nd Division League 2023-2024. If selected, you will…


BFC Soccer Schools – Mumbai to conduct trials for U14 & U16 Girls

The BFC Soccer Schools Elite team girls’ trials are coming up in search of talented players from the U14 to U16 (Born 2009 and after) age groups into the club’s…


Opportunity to make the team: U.K.M. Kothrud FC conducts selection trials for girls team

Pune-based U.K.M. Kothrud FC has announced that they will be conducting selection trials for their girl’s team on 15th January 2023 The club welcomes all players to come and showcase…


The Sunday Football League Season 4 is back

The Sunday Football League is back with its fourth season, and it’s shaping up to be the best one yet. With eight talented teams competing at the Kes Kandivali turf, there…


BFC Soccer Schools Elite team trials in Feb

Bengaluru FC launched their Mumbai program last season with the Soccer Schools and Elite programs with its local partner Soccer Schools of Excellence (SSE).  Bengaluru Football Club is a professional club…


India Khelo Football Season 2 Trials in Mumbai: A Chance to Kickstart Your Football Career

After conducting trials in 34 cities & villages across India, India Khelo Football is coming to Mumbai to hunt talent on 7th January. India Khelo Football kickstarted its season 2…


Mumbai Customs to conduct trials for Elite League

Former champions Mumbai Customs will be holding open trials for the upcoming MFA Elite Corporate League (Elite Division) The 2019 MFA Elite Division champions Mumbai Customs are conducting open trials…


Sunday Boys to hold trials for MFA 1st Division

MFA 1st division side Sunday Boys FC will be conducting trials in the first week of November for the upcoming football season Sunday Boys Football Club was established in the…


Millat FC to hold trials for MFA Elite Premier League

Millat FC – a club plying their trade in MFA Elite Division will be conducting open trials for their upcoming 2022-23 season Last season Millat had a decent run in…