The Indian Under-16 football team will be locking horns with defending AFC U-16 champions Iraq, Asian powerhouse Japan, hosts Jordan and Yemen in the fifth West Asian Football Federation WAFF U-16 Boys Championship slated to be held at the King Abdullah II International Stadium in Jordan from August 1.

The exposure tour has been arranged by All India Football Federation in co-ordination with the Sports Authority of India with an aim to provide a “fool-proof” preparation to the U-16 boys, who will play in the AFC U-16 Championship to be held in Malaysia in September.

The tournament comes on the back of the team’s exposure tours to China, Thailand and Malaysia where the team played six matches against U-16 national teams and club sides since July.

National Team Director Abhishek Yadav stated that the primary objective was to provide the team matches against sides who have qualified for the AFC U-16 Championship.

“The U16 WAFF Championship has teams, which have qualified for the 2018 AFC U-16 Championship. We are entering the last phase of preparation and one of our key targets since January was to give the coach an opportunity to play against teams, who have qualified for the 2018 Championship.

“If all goes as per plan in August, we would have played against half the Championship-qualified teams at least once,” Yadav, a former national team striker, said.

“The significance of this tournament lies in the fact that it brings together teams qualified for the 2018 AFC U16 Championship, all in their last leg of preparations,” Yadav added.

“Our boys will get a chance to play Iraq, the U-16 defending champions. That doesn’t happen every day. On top of it, we will also be playing Japan, perhaps the best U-16 Team in Asia.”

“We have to thank WAFF for inviting us in what is essentially a tournament for West Asian national teams. I have mentioned earlier that we are working intently on improving existing relations to ensure the best possible opportunities for our male and female teams,” Yadav signed off.