Kopar Khairane

“An Army Going to War”: Young Indians Excited to Compete in the AFC Asian Cup

<p>The average age of the Indian men’s football team is 26.6, making them a youthful group. Still, only five players on their roster have not yet reached double digits in terms of international caps.</p>
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<p>The squad has tested out a number of young players against different opponents over the last several years, and the top 26 players in the country were chosen to compete in the AFC Asian Cup in Qatar in 2023. Those who haven’t had as many opportunities with the senior squad, however, have already knocked on its doors and may now get an opportunity to establish themselves.</p>
<p>Rahul KP is well-known, particularly in Kerala. Since his days with the youth national teams, the deft winger has captured the attention of a lot of people. Rahul will be participating in a major international competition for the first time in his career, despite having four caps for his country.</p>
<p>“I am honored to be a member of this group. We feel like an army heading into battle,” Rahul told the-aiff.com. “Being on the national team is special, but I get a lot of love at my club.” In particular, my folks adore it. Furthermore, being picked for a major event like this is a unique occurrence.</p>
<p>Rahul, a graduate of the AIFF Elite Academy, has experience in a variety of junior international football competitions. He even played for India in the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup and the 2018 Asian Games.</p>
<p>“I really appreciate everything the AIFF has done for me. I’ve participated in almost every junior national team over my ten years in this system,” he said. “The World Cup (U-17), the Asian Games, and the AFC junior championships were fantastic experiences that shaped who I am today.”</p>
<p>Moving forward After spending some time on the senior team’s periphery, Vikram Partap Singh has finally been selected for a significant competition.</p>
<p>Being chosen for the Asian Cup was a wonderful occasion for my family and myself. Although I’ve been losing out on little things, I’m glad to be here at last. At the Asian Cup, maybe, I can make my debut and score my first goal for my country,” Vikram said.</p>
<p>As a professional goal scorer, Vikram is excited about the chance to absorb knowledge from the greatest.</p>
<p>“Simply by observing Sunil Chhetri, I am gaining knowledge.” I like it when we teach him how to complete, how to finish, and how to move inside the box,” he said.</p>
<p>As a key member of the India U-16 team that advanced to the AFC U-16 Championship quarterfinals in 2018, Vikram feels that his experience helped him understand the kind of player needed to play international football.</p>
<p>The U-16 Championship was really beneficial. In Asia, we understood what to expect and how to compete. I gained a lot of knowledge during those days, and I still use it to this day,” Vikram said.</p>
<p>Another player who has played for the youth national teams in the last ten years is midfielder Deepak Tangri. The 23-year-old, who is still uncapped, believes that the Blue Tigers have a fantastic chance to establish themselves as they prepare for the Asian Cup.</p>
<p>“We have an excellent opportunity to put in a lot of effort and demonstrate our abilities as it’s the largest tournament in Asia,” Tangri said. “Training is really intense, and we are really enjoying it.”</p>