In a couple of friendly matches scheduled this weekend, the India U-16 football team is gearing up to face the top junior club teams from Egypt. The matches will be played in Cairo and Alexandria.
On 22nd April, the team will battle with Al-Ahly club in Cairo and on 23rd April,it will play with Smouha club in Alexandria. The matches are under The India-Egypt Friendship Cup: Football Match Series as part of the India by the Nile cultural festival which runs until 27 April.
India’s Ambassador to Egypt Sanjay Bhattacharyya while attending the training of the young footballers, told:
“This is an opportunity for the young team and a very useful experience for them because they will have the exposure of a very competitive kind of football.”
Talking about the choice of venues, he explained, “Cairo is a natural choice because we are all here and the Ahly team is here. And we chose Alexandria because we want them to visit another city and play with another team. Also, I think a lot of people in India are familiar with Alexandria and they know about the ancient wonders that are there, the light house and the old library, so when the youngsters go to Alexandria it will be a major point in their lives.”
The current team which is preparing for the under-16 AFC Cup qualifiers to be held in Nepal, is on its first ever voyage to Egypt to play matches with their Egyptian counterparts.
“This is a good outing for them to visit Egypt and go back with a new experience. The most important thing is that they build friendships,” the Ambassador said.
Players of the India U-16 football team are very enthusiastic about their coming matches.
Ridge Demcllo, one of the players of the team said, “It’s a very wonderful feeling to come to a new country and play with different people.”