Promising midfielder Korou Singh was on Tuesday named India captain for the upcoming AFC U-17 Asian Cup. The talented 16-year-old has become an influential player on the pitch in the recent past. After scoring a goal each in the SAFF U-17 Championship and the AFC U-17 Asian Cup Qualifiers, the winger went on to put on a fine show in the team’s training matches in Spain and Germany, against the junior teams of some of the top clubs in the world, like Atletico de Madrid, Real Madrid, VfB Stuttgart, FC Augsburg, and more.
Overall, he scored three goals and made five assists in the 10 practice matches in Europe before reaching Thailand, where he scored one and assisted another in two training games against local sides.
“Being the captain of India in a tournament like the AFC U-17 Asian Cup is a big responsibility, and we believe that Korou is quite capable of carrying out such leadership responsibilities,” India head coach Bibiano Fernandes said while announcing Korou as the captain of the team.
The India U-17s are currently training at the Khao Yai Sports Complex in Thailand, and will travel to Bangkok on June 14 before the start of the AFC U-17 Asian Cup, where they are set to play Vietnam (June 17), Uzbekistan (June 20), and Japan (June 23) in Group D.
For Fernandes, it was a matter of finding the best suited player, who could not only lead the team on the pitch, but off it as well.
“It’s been a process through this year and a half with this team. Peka (Vanlalpeka Guite) was the captain last year in SAFF and the AFC qualifiers,” said Fernandes.
“Then some new boys came in, and we tried to rotate the captain’s armband to as many boys as possible to see who takes up the leadership role in a good manner.
“It was also a matter of giving it to someone who the entire team loves and respects, and someone who can lead the rest of the boys both on and off the pitch. After assessing all the players in all areas, we had a meeting with the team officials and decided Korou was best suited,” he said.
“Being a captain means that one has to take responsibility for the entire team, encourage them on all occasions, and lead them through difficult times. In my books, a captain has to lead by example,” said Fernandes.
Excited to lead India, Korou said: “It’s an absolute honour for me to be named captain in such a prestigious tournament like the AFC U-17 Asian Cup. I never thought I’d ever be given such responsibility, but I feel grateful that the coaches have seen the potential in me to lead this team.”
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