The FIFA U-17 World Cup is now in full swing. Unfortunately, India’s opening encounter with the USA did not go as planned. But there is still a long way to go and the team still have 2 matches left. Their next encounter is tonight at 8pm against Colombia. Before we go into the match, here are a few interesting tidbits of information about the U-17 Indian football team.
The AFC U-16 Championship is held a year before the U-17 world event. Unfortunately, India have never made it beyond the group stage on multiple occasions. In fact they have only surpassed that stage once. The year was 2002, the ‘Colts’ had reached the quarterfinals. However, they were soundly beaten by eventual champions North Korea.
The Colts may not have won many laurels, but they have triumphed on some occasions. The only piece of silverware the India U-16 football team have won is the 2013 South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) U-16 Championship in Nepal. They managed to beat the hosts 1-0 to take home the trophy.
Under new coach Luís Norton de Matos, the team did a European tour where they were up against formidable opponents. After a few small hiccups, the team remained unbeaten in three games. Their most famous win came against an assembled Italy U-17 XI, comprising of youth players from clubs in Lega Pro and Lega Pro 2.
As a 14-year-old, Aniket Jadhav represented India in the FC Bayern Munich Youth Cup in 2014. Being a part of the AIFF setup ever since, the striker has won caps for the nation at all levels. He has also established himself as Matos’ trusted man up front leading the Indian attack, hoping to be the next Indian goal machine.
The blonde-haired playmaker oozes talent. He has proved his credentials by scoring a goal each against the mighty Brazil and Uruguay. The Sikkimese-born striker is the only player to do so amongst the current crop.