AHMEDABAD: The last match of the Hero Intercontinental Cup 2019 group stage will see the Blue Tigers take on Syria in Ahmedabad on Tuesday (July 16, 2019).
Defender Anas Edathodika, who came out of his International retirement stated the team is “working very hard” to clinch the three points.
Anas, who was summoned by Head Coach Igor Stimac, however, isn’t in the final 23, but has been practicing with the rest of the squad in Ahmedabad.
“We really want to win the match against Syria,” Anas said at a media interaction, before adding: “The coach is working with the players on an individual basis. He is talking to them one-by-one as we are gearing up for the game. The focus is on identifying the mistakes, working on them, and rectifying them. I’m sure the players will give their best.”
He thanked the supporters in Ahmedabad for their continuous support over the two games, saying that the team wants to win the third match “for the fans.”
“It’s a huge motivation for us, and a great sight to see a packed stadium. We are thankful for their support and hope to grab a victory.”
Anas, who was part of the Indian side that lifted the Hero Intercontinental Cup last year maintained the players are concerned at conceding soft goals.
“We have conceded some avoidable goals in the last two matches. It is a cause of concern for the players.”
”Football is a team game. When we concede, it falls on the entire team, and when we score the credit goes to everyone. We have a different system under the new coach and it will take time to grow in to it,” he mentioned.
The coach had previously spoken about using the Hero Intercontinental Cup as a preparatory platform for the upcoming 2020 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and according to Anas, the Blue Tigers are looking to make the most of “playing against quality teams”.
“All three oppositions are very tough. It’s great that we have got the chance to prepare against such quality sides. The time we have to prepare is precious. We are looking to make the most of it,” he said.
The central defender also spoke about his return to the National team, and how the coach convinced him to reverse his decision.
“When the coach called me back, it felt like going back home and playing again for my motherland. After the AFC Asian Cup exit, it was an emotional time for me. I had my personal reasons to leave. However, he told me about his plans and after speaking to him, I thought I am ready to take on this challenge again.”
India still have a mathematical chance of making it to the final provided Tajikistan beat DPR Korea in their last group league match.