India's journey towards preparing a strong U-17 football side for the 2017 FIFA World Cup has kickstarted, and Germany is the first stop on the road.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) have announced that the country's present U-16 squad is set for a tour of Germany for almost two months, and the colts will leave early morning on Tuesday.
The 24-member squad will be playing a minimum of 15-16 practice matches including games against the youth teams of Bayern Munich and RB Salzburg, amongst others. The Indian colts have been undergoing their practice in Goa for the last few months.
India U-17 World Cup head coach Nicolai Adam cannot be more excited as he looks forward to the trip and he feels that it will give the youngsters a much-needed exposure ahead of AFC U-16 Qualifiers next year.
"The preparation in Germany before the AFC U-16 Qualifiers will be good for the boys. The AFC Qualifiers will be tough with Iran, Bahrain and Lebanon in our Group," Adam said.
"After the Qualifiers, there was always a temptation of coming back to India as the boys would be out for long. But during my previous stint with Azerbaijan, I have been at the AGS Cup and stay aware of the level of competition it offers.
"Many International Youth Teams take that as a platform to prepare for their European rounds. It will be huge for the boys," the German coach added.
AIFF general secretary Kushal Das explained that Germany has been selected primarily keeping in mind the infrastructure and the role the nation plays towards promoting youth development and other grassroots programme.
"We had already mentioned the squad will embark on a series of exposure tours all round the Globe in different Footballing environments," Das said.
"Germany have been synonymous with Youth Development and training at venues having the best of facilities and playing with some of the best youth Teams will help in the development of our World Cup squad."
The AIFF boss also thanked the German Football Association (DFB) for allowing the Indian youngsters to participate in the tour.
"I would also like to thank DFB for their support. This is the first of many more exposure Tours to follow for the colts," he added.