The Indian U-19 football team will be travelling to Serbia to play two international friendlies against the Serbian U-19 side on September 13 and September 17.

After playing in the four-nation tournament in Croatia against France, Croatia and Slovenia, this will be the next assignment for the India U-19 team.

Both the matches are part of the exposure tour being organised by the All India Football Federation in coordination with SAI, as preparation for the U-19 players for the forthcoming I-League season as well as the U-19 AFC Championship qualification next year.

National team director Abhishek Yadav said playing regularly against top 50 youth national teams has its own significance.

“Serbia will be the fifth top-50 team (as per the Fifa rankings) that we will be facing within a month-and-a-half. In a 50-day period, we will be competing in six matches against regular World Cuppers from the two continents of world football – South America and Europe,” he stated.

“The matches have been part of competitions so there has been that added edge. The players and our all-Indian staff are learning from these tough tests. Motivation levels are now much higher. I am satisfied with the way we were able to design this pre-season and this is the way we aim to continue,” he added.

The Indian U-19 team had earlier participated in the COTIF Cup in Spain before flying to Croatia for the Four-Nation Tournament. In the COTIF Cup, India defeated U-20 Argentina 2-1 and held U-20 World Cup runners-up Venezuela to a goal-less draw.