The Indian U-19 team will take on hosts Russia in their opening group match of the 31st Granatkin Memorial tournament in St. Petersburg today.
The other Group A teams Bulgaria and Moldova will be playing earlier in the day while the Russia-India game will kick-off at 8.30PM IST at the Petrovsky Stadium.
The 12 participating teams in the tournament are divided into three groups of four teams each. Group B has Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and Tajikistan while Group C consists of Argentina, Iran, Russia-2 and Armenia. Russia-2 is made up of mostly players from around St. Petersburg with a few exceptions.
Saint Petersburg were one of the participating teams in the last edition (30th) of the tournament and they ended up winning it.
The 18-member Indian squad:
GOALKEEPERS: Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, Niraj Kumar.
DEFENDERS: Akash Mishra, Muhammed Rafi, Sumit Rathi, Shabas Ahammed, Jitendra Singh.
MIDFIELDERS: Sanjeev Stalin, Jeakson Singh Thounaojam, Ninthoinganba Meetei Khumanthem, Givson Singh Moirangthem, Vikram Partap Singh, Ricky John Shabong, Lalchhanhima Sailo, Muhammed Basith Parathodi, Robin Yadav.
FORWARDS: Harmanpreet Singh, Rohit Danu.
India’s schedule in the tournament:
June 4: Group A: Russia vs India (IST 8.30pm).
June 6: Group A: Moldova vs India (IST 2.30pm).
June 9: Group A: India vs Bulgaria (IST 2.30PM).
After the group stage matches are complete, the U-19 team might play a couple of play-off matches depending on their position on the table.
Head Coach Floyd Pinto stressed on the importance of giving as much game time as possible to the players in preparation for the AFC U-19 Qualifiers which are scheduled for later this year.
We have travelled with an 18-member squad. Our primary target will be to give every member as much game time as possible.
This is a fresh squad with a mix of the boys from Indian Arrows, boys from the U-16 team who had qualified to quarterfinals of AFC U16 Championship (in 2018), and a new group of boys who have made it through the trials.Floyd Pinto, Head Coach.