ABU DHABI: Ahead of India’s clash against Thailand in the opening match of the Blue Tiger’s campaign in the AFC Asian Cup, Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu stated that India will be playing for a win.
Speaking at the Official Pre-Match Press Conference, Gurpreet said, “It will be a challenge for us tomorrow against Thailand, but the boys are ready to face them and we will play for a win”
“We have worked really hard in the last four years to be here and we will try to put on the best show possible. The boys have been doing the hard work on and off the pitch, we will make sure that the work does not go in vain”
“We as a team are proud of the belief that we have made over the last four years. We have given our everything on the pitch and will continue to do so”, he added.
The Indian National Team has been drawn in Group A of the AFC Asian Cup alongside hosts UAE, Thailand and Bahrain, after qualifying for the fourth time only in their history with the last qualification coming way back in 2011. The Blue Tiger had however finished Runners-up in 1962.
“As a team, we have proved that we can win and we are not a team to play against. We are concentrating on the challenge ahead and will take one match at a time”, Gurpreet further states, “The main thing is to stay positive and be consistent”
The goalkeeper was also part of India’s squad in the 2011 edition of the AFC Asian Cup and drawing comparisons he said, “The experience of playing in 2011 has been huge for me and I have learnt a lot from it”
“It was a different team in 2011 when players were at their peak. This team is young and could play for years to come. The desire in this team is ever-growing and they are hungry to prove themselves”
Meanwhile, Head Coach Stephen Constantine sitting beside stated that the Indian National Team is the second youngest team in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 with an average age of 25 and the youngest in India’s history to participate in the AFC Asian Cup.
The coach said, “The future is bright and we will try to make it out of the group stages. Thailand we will be a tough test for us, but we are confident of our abilities.”