Table of Contents
Bibiano Fernandes was one of India’s promising footballers. He had an impressive 15-year career as a footballer, playing for different teams from 1997 to 2011 including the country’s prominent teams like East Bengal, Dempo, and Churchill Brothers. Then having acquired an A-license coaching degree, Bibiano Fernandes was nurturing youth footballers in Goa’s Sesa Goa Academy and finally started his journey as the chief coach of under-16 national football.
Under his coaching, India won the SAFF under-15 championship in 2017 and 2019. India’s under-16 team had also reached the AFC under-16 AFC Championship quarter-finals, finally losing out to South Korea in his reign. He is regarded as one of the best coaches in the youth development programs in Indian football. Under his tenure, India qualified for the AFC under-16 championship twice.
The Match Against Real Madrid
Bibiano Fernandes is currently in Germany with the under-17 national football team that has qualified for the forthcoming AFC Cup, starting on 15th June in Thailand. He said from there,
“It was a great experience to watch our boys fighting with such a top team neck-to-neck. Real Madrid under-17 is a top side in the Spanish under-17 league along with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. So, it was not easy to force Real Madrid to a 3-3- draw. Our boys were motivated and focused already, visualizing the match where they would deliver the best and it happened on the pitch.”
The team had a superb outing against Real Madrid where Indian juniors were even leading 2-1 after the break. Shashwat Panwar, Thangalsoun Gangte, and Ralte scored for India.
The Team’s Exposure Trips
The Indian juniors started playing exposure matches in May last year. They played against Uzbekistan. They lost to the UAE under-20 side by a goal. The team lost to Qatar by three goals in the first match but bounced back with a superb 3-0 victory against them in their second and concluding match. The team then, in a five-week exposure in Spain, won 4-1 against Atletico Madrid Under-17 and won also against under-16 Atletico Madrid. Indian juniors lost to Leganes 2-0 and also to Getafe in their concluding match before going to Germany for the last two-week training program.
The AFC Cup & A Dream
The four top teams will qualify directly for the under-17 FIFA World Cup, scheduled to be held in Peru at the end of this year. Bibiano is dreaming of boarding the flight to Peru. He sounded optimistic stating,
“In the AFC Cup we are with defending champions Japan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. The boys as they have been performing in our exposure matches will not give up and if we can stop Japan in our group league match then it will be a big boost and I can dream of reaching Peru finally.”