Papas ready for India challenge
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Australian Arthur Papas happily accepts that his latest assignment with the India U-22 team appears to be more of a challenge than a chance to prove his worth as coach. The 32-year old has joined a team of 33 India probables who are training at the Ambedkar stadium and will be further pruned to 23 before flying to Dubai on June 14 for a nine day practice session to prepare for the U-22 Asian Championships at Oman.
Given his country's sporting background, it would not be far-fetched to assume that the Australian's primary focus will be on fitness when it comes to handling the young Indians but interestingly he doesn't belong to that school of thought. Papas is aware that mere twenty days of rigorous workout cannot change his players, so he has instead decided to give them more match practice. "I have no expectations from the boys right now. I don't want to comment on what they have been doing in the past. The team is good and the players have potential. I want them to learn as much as they can to play as a unit," Papas said.
For Papas, players like Jeje Lalpekhlua, Lalrindika Ralte and Gurpreet Singh are a ray of hope as they have been regulars with the senior India side. But since Lalpekhlua, is injured and warmed the bench on Monday, Papas is actively searching for his replacement. He makes the players play 90-minute matches and takes down notes on each footballer. "With Jeje I don't want to take risks. He is a talented Indian asset and I would not want to risk his career for this championship. Though I would be happy if he gets fit by the time our matches start in Oman but I will not force him to play," he added.
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