New Delhi: With the AFC U-16 Championships starting Thursday in Malaysia, Indian defender Samir Kerketta is confident a good show in the continental showpiece and assure them a 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup spot at Peru. A semifinal finish will be enough for the Indian colts to grab the World Cup spot.
“The team are really focused at this stage. We all want to give our 100 per cent and our main target is to reach at least the semifinals which will be enough for us to qualify for the U-17 World Cup next year,” Kerketta, one of the two players from Odisha in the national side stated. The other player from the state in the team is Bekey Oram.
Having been one of the vital cogs in coach Bibiano Fernandez’s starting line-up for the past few years, Kerketta has been a part of all the exposure tours in recent years and the defensive full-back wants to use all his experiences to help the team in every way.
“Yes, I have been a part of this team now for quite some time and every one of us gel very well. We support each other in our bad times as well as share the joy when we do win. And I think this gelling has helped us in producing good performances in recent times.
India are grouped with Iran, Vietnam and Indonesia in Group C. They start their campaign against Vietnam Friday, before facing title favourites Iran, September 24 and Indonesia three days later.
“Yes, the group is definitely tough, but then in a tournament of such stature you cannot expect easy games. We will have to raise our game by a few notches to overcome the challenges and we are capable of doing that,” asserted the Odisha youngster.