New Delhi, Dec 10 (IANS) India U-16 head coach Bibiano Fernandes believes the the precautionary measures that have put in place amid the Covid-19 guidelines during the ongoing training camp in Goa will help the boys get used to the new normal in football.
“It feels great to get back to the camp once again. We had set our sights on the AFC U-16 Championship since last year, but obviously, under the circumstances, the safety of all parties involved came before everything else,” Bibiano said to the-aiff.com.
“But, I’m thankful that we have now been able to arrange for all our players to enter the camp in a safe manner and start the camp. It is good that the boys are now getting to train under the Covid-safety regulations. Of course, there are a lot of norms to follow and that can affect your game. So, it is good that they get used to these things from now itself,” he added.
Bibiano had led the previous batch of India U-16 boys to the quarterfinals of the AFC U-16 Championship 2018 – just one step away from direct qualification for the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
Bibiano’s boys were on an eight-match unbeaten run in junior international football last year, having scored 39 goals and conceded just one in their eight matches in the SAFF U-15 Championship and the AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers. As a result, the boys clinched the SAFF U-15 Championship title in Kalyani and followed that up by topping their group in the AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers in Tashkent, Uzbekistan last year.
With the pandemic situation forcing everyone to remain at their homes initially, the entire team had continued its indoor training routines, meeting via daily video conferencing. The head coach feels that the boys are in “decent shape” due to these activities.
“In terms of fitness, the boys are all in decent shape. Even during the lockdown, when they were all stuck at home, we all used to meet daily over video conferencing and carry out our physical training activities. We also tried to monitor their diet and made sure that they remain in good shape despite not being able to train outside,” Bibiano stated.