New Delhi [India], Oct. 2 : Defender Sanjeev Stalin has conceded that India are underdogs in the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 but they are ready to surprise everyone.
Stalin always wanted to play in a FIFA World Cup and now with the U-17 World Cup at hand, the defender feels that "good pressure" is needed to unlock the potential of a player.
"Pressure is part and parcel of an athlete's life. The pressure to perform is always there be it in a big tournament or a comparatively less one. As athletes we have to deal with pressure and although obviously there is pressure before the FIFA U-17 World Cup, it is a good type of pressure which personally helps to motivate me," said Stalin.
When asked as to what is "good pressure", the defender said, "Any pressure which drives me to perform better even than my potential is good pressure.
The good pressure helps me to keep motivated and inspired. It helps me to perform even better in tight situations as it provides me with an extra drive to go all out." When asked about the importance of the FIFA U-17 World Cup for India, the defender said that it is a historic moment for Indian football and every Indian in general.
"We need the support of our 12th man - the fans - to cheer for us in numbers when we play against USA.
It is not only our FIFA World Cup, this belongs to every Indian and every Indian is part of this amazing moment," he asserted.
When quizzed about team's preparation, Stalin said they are confident and would give a tough fight to their opponents.
"We are confident in our collective ability as a team going into the FIFA U-17 World Cup. We will play to win and we will give our opponent a tough fight. We understand that we are underdogs in our group, but we have plans to surprise everyone," he said. The Indian Colts face USA on October 6, before locking horns with Colombia and Ghana on October 9 and October 12 respectively at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
The list of the 21 selected players follows below: Goalkeepers: Dheeraj Singh, Prabhsukhan Gill, Sunny Dhaliwal Defenders: Boris Singh, Jitendra Singh, Anwar Ali, Sanjeev Stalin, Hendry Antonay, Namit Deshpande Midfielders: Suresh Singh, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Abhijit Sarkar, Komal Thatal, Lalengmawia, Jeakson Singh, Nongdamba Naorem, Rahul Kannoly Praveen, Md.
Shahjahan Forwards: Rahim Ali, Aniket Jadhav.