India U-16 football team head coach Nicolai Adam has said he is stressing on mental toughness along with the normal routine of high intensity training during the practice sessions in Goa ahead of the inaugural edition of the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) Youth Cup.
The five-nation tournament comprising of USA, South Korea, Malaysia, Tanzania and hosts India kicks-off at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco, Goa on 15 May.
The tournament is part of the exposure being provided by the AIFF to the U-16 national team as they prepare for the 2017 U-17 FIFA World Cup.
“Right now compliments are coming in from all quarters as the boys are working really hard. But at the end it’s all about developing the winning mentality — the mentality of winning or losing,” Adam said in a release.
“The mental aspect is directly related to success in sports and we are focusing on it right now. They need to stay concentrated for longer periods to reach that level of optimal awareness.”
“The boys remember that they have the chance to hopefully play five games in a period of 11 days. That means they have a game almost every alternate day. It’s important they strike the right balance. For that you need to work harder,” he added.
Adam, however, admitted that he has no complaints about the boys from the “physical point of view”.
“I would say that from the physical point of view they are in very good shape. I can’t complain. We have been meticulous and the ball action speed is higher now. In fact, it’s improving day by day and we still have some time for the World Cup,” he said.
“But it’s not just about the mental toughness. Since I took over, we have tried to play football, stressing on building up from the back and not just playing high balls. We need to put pressure on opposition when we don’t have the ball. That’s how football is played all round the World,” Adam concluded.
The India U-16 team will play against their Malaysian counterparts in their first match on 15 May.