Mumbai (Maharashtra): India will take on Caribbean side St. Kitts & Nevis which would be their final preparatory match before next month’s Asian Cup qualifier against Macau in the ongoing Triangular International Football series today at the Mumbai Football Arena.
Stephen Constantine’s men defeated Mauritius 2-1 in the opening match of the tri-series, thus registering their ninth victory on the trot (including the unofficial match against Bhutan). In that game, the seasoned duo of Robin Singh and Balwant Singh scored for the hosts.
“We have to start afresh and we’re ready to do so. We’re in a good shape and looking to finish off the job in a positive note,” he said on Wednesday. “We were slow starters against Mauritius and we cannot afford to do that in every match.”
Captain Sandesh Jhingan, sitting next informed that the “half-time talk” during the last match did the trick. “The coach insisted on the areas where we need to focus on. We worked on it and got the results,” Jhingan stated.
Constantine showed utmost respect for his counterpart as well who have salvaged a 1-1 draw against Mauritius.
“They have the potential and they proved it yesterday. Coming back from a one-goal deficit is not very easy but they did it. We have to be at our very best,” Constantine mentioned. “They are very dangerous on the counter attack.”
Constantine has already stressed that his side would take one match at a time from here onwards.
“We can’t afford to expect anything less than a tough fight from the Caribbean boys. They are a tough bunch and a very skilful team. At the end of the day, it’ll be a very difficult game for us,” he said.
“We had a terrific game against Mauritius in the second half and we’d definitely be looking forward to having another positive game against St. Kitts & Nevis,” he added.
The Indian coach further insisted that the ultimate goal of the team is to get a ticket to the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
Meanwhile, St. Kitts & Nevis coach Jacques Passy said that the match against India is “nothing but a potential final”.
“The Indian National Team has improved dramatically in the last two years,” he stressed, repeating “dramatically” twice. The two strikers are very sharp and though possession is not India’s forte, I feel they have the right philosophy simply because in this era, possession is irrelevant. Rather what is relevant is a style of India and India has it,” he certified.
The eloquent coach went on to say that he believes in ‘no-excuse’ logic on being asked whether the tight schedule of his team will dent his dream of beating India at their home.
“I’m a person who believes in ‘no-excuse’. We were aware of the fixtures before touching down and now we can’t complain about the fixture. Whatever ammunition we have, I believe we can put up a strong fight against India.
Moreover, I can guarantee you that even if we lose, the tight schedule won’t be mentioned even once by us,” Passy explained. (ANI)