City footballers in Indian team for U-16 Asian Cup

As the Indian team gears up for the Under-16 Asian Cup with a match against Uzbekistan on Sunday, all the eyes of football lovers from Chandigarh would be on Daniel Lalhlimpuia and AZ Lalramzauva, both trainees of Chandigarh Football Academy.

Prior to landing in Tehran, the Indian team played three warm up matches at Dubai. In the warm up matches, Daniel of Government Model High School, Sector 36, scored two goals while Lalramzauva, also from the same school, netted a goal for India. Both are students of Class X and have been serving the Indian Under-16 team for almost 15 months now.

India who earned a ticket for the final phase in October 2011 in Tashkent, are clubbed with Syria, China and Uzbekistan in group D. The top-two from each group will qualify for the quarterfinals while the four semifinalists get a direct entry into the U-17 World Cup.

That means, India stay four matches away from earning a spot in the World Cup.

The road ahead, though, will be fraught with obstacles. "International exposures at this age matters. Uzbekistan go into the match with more confidence than us. But we will be competitive," chief coach, Colm Toal, said on the eve of the match.

Toal is aware that it would take a lot of doing for his boys to make an impression in a tournament in which they are pitted against the cream of Asia -- Japan, the two Koreas, Australia, and Iran to name a few.

The Indian boys understand that they need to perform to their potential as they stand on the threshold of history. "From the batch of 2008, Lalrindika Ralte, Manandeep Singh and Shilton D'Silva have already played for India," Toal recollected.

Having earlier coached China and Uzbekistan, Toal knows their footballing structure, the age-group teams more than anyone else. "We need to be competitive and we will," he reiterated.

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