Goa, India, Oct 2, 2016: Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has congratulated Iraq on clinching the AFC U-16 Championship India 2016 title on Sunday in Goa. The final, played at Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, finished 0-0 (3-4 pen.). This was the first time Iraq has won the competition.
AFC President Shaikh Salman said: “I send my congratulations to the Iraq under-16 team for becoming the champions of Asia today. We witnessed a hard-fought match here in Goa, a match which depicted the bright future Asian football has in its brilliant youth teams.
“The AFC U-16 Championship put the spotlight on the stars of tomorrow and the stage for them to shine was set by the All India Football Federation’s Local Organising Committee. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude and appreciation to my Vice-President Praful Patel, his AIFF and the LOC for all their hard work in organising this tournament. They have done a remarkable job in a country that is determined to become a football power.
“We also thank the Government of India for its continued support, not only of this tournament but also the development of football across the country. The AFC’s vision is to consolidate football’s position as the number one sport on the continent and India is important in that objective.
“I am confident that the AFC U-16 Championship India 2016 paves way for a tremendously successful FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, when five Asian nations, Iraq, IR Iran, DPR Korea, Japan and of course the hosts, the India under-17 team, take on the world’s best young players.”
The final between IR Iran and Iraq was 0-0 after a tense 90 minutes. The tie went to penalties and Iraq emerged victorious by netting four of their spot kicks against IR Iran’s three.
The sides met also two years ago in the AFC U14 Championship when Iraq edged past IR Iran by three goals to two. Most of the players in tonight’s final played in the semi-final in 2014, showcasing the positive results of continued youth development in AFC’s Member Associations. —- AFC
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