02 Mar 2023
India’s national under-17 squad return home after a nine-day stay at Aspire Academy full of praise for their hosts.
The training camp included two friendlies against the Qatar national under-17 team, with honours even after a win each.
Qatar, made up of Aspire Academy student-athletes, won the opening game 3-1 on Saturday and then after making a few changes they lost 3-0 on Tuesday evening.
Both nations are preparing to take part in the 2023 AFC Asian Under-17 Championships, which are due to be held in May in Thailand.
The four semi-finalists from the 16-team tournament will qualify for the 2023 Under-17 World Cup in Peru starting in November.
The delegation from India were very impressed with what they experienced during their time at Aspire Academy.
“The facilities are fantastic - staying in the dormitories is like being in a 5-star hotel,” Rocky, the team manager said.
“The food is almost too good, they know how to make sure it has protein, carbs and calories and everything is balanced.”
“The ground facilities are excellent too – the ground staff and security as well, in fact all the people we have met working at Aspire are fantastic.”
“Both the matches were good and the setback of the loss gave us a push to get a good result in the second match and it felt good to win an away match.”
Sadurson Raju the physiotherapist for the India under-17 team was also positive about the stay at Aspire Academy.
“You have excellent facilities which are state-of-the-art - even down to the grass on the pitches,” he pointed out.
“It is different from India, so it took us time to get used to the grass here, but this is all part of the process to get ready for the AFC Under-17.”
“We have so many ideas that we can take back to India but how much of it is possible to implement is another question.”