Friday 07 July 2017, 19:14

Coaches react to India 2017 draw

  • India 2017 draw took place in Mumbai on Friday

  • Hosts to face USA in their opening game

  • Debutants New Caledonia drawn against France

The Official Draw for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 saw some six groups full of intrigue sculpted in Mumbai. Many stories are waiting to be told, with intrepid debutants, former champions and - of course - the hosts all looking to write a new chapter in their footballing history come October.

After the draw, ​ spoke exclusively to a number of coaches to get their immediate reaction, and find out what they think the first FIFA tournament in India holds in store.

Luis Norton de Matos, India coach The hosts were drawn into Group A with Colombia, Ghana and USA I like this challenge, even though there are stronger favourites. USA only missed one U-17 World Cup, Colombia are one of the strongest teams in South America, and Ghana are one of the best teams in Africa. The players are not obliged to win, but are obliged to play to win.

At the end of each game, I want the young people to feel that they can play against big teams as equals. I feel it is possible with work. I feel I can bring something to Indian football.

I think the first game is the most important. I’m going to prepare very well, as will the players, and if we win, we have a good chance to progress. We will fight for that.

It is important for us that the Indian people come to the stadium. We are going to play with 11 players on the pitch, plus one from the stands. I was a football player, and I know you can play ten to 20 per cent better, if you have this kind of support. What I want is that people are proud at the end of the game.

Jonas Komla, Mali coach 2015 finalists were drawn into Group B with New Zealand, Paraguay and Turkey All the teams in the group are very good, and we are happy to be facing them. It is something that's unforgettable for the players and I’m very positive about the venues we'll play in too.

In Mali, there has been a great development in terms of the popularity of football, not just the popularity, but the professionalism of football. It’s gaining day by day. I want to promote it and take that further.

I’m looking at it match by match. The first objective is to get out of the group, and after that, we will see how we progress.

Christian Wuck, Germany coach *His side were drawn into Group C alongside Costa Rica, Guinea and Iran ***It’s an interesting group. They are new teams that we don’t know much about, but from now, we will analyse their past games. I think it will be a great tournament for the players and the staff, so we are very lucky to be in India.

It’s very hot and very humid here and the players have to adapt, but I think it’s a beautiful country, so I’m very happy to be here. We are going to Goa and to Kochi and look how it will be.

We have a very good offensive team. We have very talented players, so I think we are favourites here, but not the only ones.

Michel Clarque, New Caledonia coach His side were drawn into Group E with France, Honduras and Japan We have been living in a dream since February when we qualified. In our little nation of New Caledonia, to play a World Cup, it’s a wonderful thing, a dream. I want to share this dream with the players.

When I get back home, I will tell them that now: your final challenge is to do our best. Like Vanuatu in the U-20 World Cup, a small country who did well against Mexico, Germany and Venezuela, if we can do as well as them, it will be great for Oceania as well.

I’ve played for the national team of New Caledonia and I don’t know what it is like to play at a World Cup. I know that it’s a fantastic event, and I have to tell the kids that they will experience something amazing. Also, if they want good results, they will have to work and work.

We want to do our best to develop the players. These U-17s will then become U-20. This is the beginning of their story. I hope for them that it will go on.

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