Playing the age-group teams of the traditionally strong Turkish clubs will help prepare the Indian U-15 team for the tough challenges that lies ahead in the AFC U-16 Qualifiers, feels coach Bibiano Fernandes.
After the success of the SAFF U-15 Championship, the Indian U-15 team is now set to play two friendly matches in Turkey, against Keciorengucu FC and Fenerbahce FC on September 9 and 11 respectively.
"I really believe it (playing in Turkey) will be very helpful for our preparations for the AFC Qualifiers. To compete and hopefully win against some really good European opposition just prior to a tournament as important as the AFC Qualifier will go a long way in boosting the players' self-confidence," Bibiano said.
"It will be a different and tougher challenge. We played the Besiktas Youth team the last time we were in Turkey with the previous batch. We know very well how good the Turkish players are technically. We are doing a bit of homework about the opposition but at the same time, we will be focusing more on playing to our strengths."
Hosts India had won the sixth edition of the SAFF U-15 Championship, hammering Nepal 7-0 in the final last month.
"The first thing I did after the SAFF victory is to remind the boys that we still haven't achieved our target yet," Bibiano said.
"As I have said before this is all a part of the process, and the final target is, of course, the AFC Qualifiers. So it is important that you do not take any match or any tour lightly and as a team, you are always prepared and ready."
After the two friendlies in Turkey, the team will head to Uzbekistan for their AFC U-16 Championship qualification campaign, where they face Bahrain, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.