Make or break for Iran, T&T
After losing their opening matches to Turkey and Chile respectively, Iran and Trinidad and Tobago enter their second and last outing in the group stage knowing that nothing fewer than three points can salvage their hopes of a place in the semi-finals. The west Asians will face an enigmatic Papua New Guinea side, while the Caribbean islanders lock horns with a highly-motivated Equatorial Guinea.
Iran impressed in the curtain-raiser, an adventurous line-up spearheaded by Shahin Alfaki looking dangerous whenever they went forward. However, their lack of defensive experience cost them dearly as they conceded two late goals to lose, a problem which coach Shahrzad Mozafar is ready to handle. “We are left with no options but to defeat Papua New Guinea to advance,” the former futsal trainer told FIFA.com. “To make this happen we must keep things tight defensively while pushing forward for goals.” The good news for Iran is that Sharshin Kamangar, who sustained an injury against Turkey, has recovered quickly and is expected to play.
Papua New Guinea, for their part, will enter their opener determined to make a name for themselves. For coach Michael Robinson, taking their Youth Olympic bow is a rare chance for the team not only to write their names into the country’s football history but also to earn attention for the women’s game. “We will try to get a good result and it will open the door for more things,” the England-born coach told FIFA.com. “I ask the players to express themselves on the pitch while sticking to the tactical plan. We want to play good football.”
Despite losing to Chile by the slightest of margins, Trinidad and Tobago showed they are a very well-organised outfit. Coach Marlon Charles opted to accentuate the positives following defeat, and has urged his athletic players to strive harder for victory over Equatorial Guinea. The Africans, for their part, remain something of a mystery heading into their debut. After spending the past two months in training, the team arrived at Singapore in peak condition, which has left coach Jean Paul Mpile upbeat. “Our aim is no less than winning gold,” he stated in a recent interview with FIFA.com.
6 players from the current Papua New Guinea U-15 side have also featured in the nation’s U-17 team.
Did you know?
Coach Marlon Charles is a member of Trinidad and Tobago's coaching staff at U-17 level, which is headed by former Norway women’s and Canada women’s boss Even Pellerud.
“Given the importance of the game, we will focus on defending in the opening half and try not to concede a goal. Then, after the restart, we can sort out a plan to breach the opponents’ rearguard and win the game,” Marlon Charles, Trinidad and Tobago coach.