Tag: India national team

Constantine reacts to Myanmar draw

GOA: India national team coach Stephen Constantine has credited his charges following the 2-2 draw against Myanmar at Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Tuesday.

India, who already qualified for the AFC Asian Cup finals, came from behind twice through skipper Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lalpekhlua to cancel out Yan Naing Oo and Kyaw Ko Ko’s goals in their penultimate Group A fixture of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification.

Read Match Report: India rally to hold Myanmar in AFC Asian Cup qualifier

Although the British tactician had been hoping for all three points, he had no complaints about the outcome.

“I am happy with the boys. We created enough chances to win the game but couldn’t score. I think young players are getting better and better with time. The future looks good for this team but we need to work harder.”

“The players accounted for themselves well despite conceding very early, Myanmar were equally good. This game gives us an impression of how the boys can stand the pressure. Over the whole game‚ I can say that it is a fair result because both teams had opportunities.” Constantine concluded.

It’s like a group of brothers playing together: Jhingan

NEW DELHI: Perhaps none knows that Sandesh Jhingan cried as a 17-year old when India lost to Bahrain in the Doha 2011 Asian Cup.In a freewheeling interview, Jhingan travels down memory lane to the day while speaking about his love for the National Team, his self-assessment as a player, the aim at the AFC Asian Cup 2019, defending as a Team, the ‘special back-four’ and much more. EXCERPTS:

Personally, what does qualification to the Asian Cup mean to you?

It’s a big achievement for the Country as it’s a continuous process of growth of Indian Football after the last qualification in Doha 2011. Our priority from now on is to improve and try to dominate in Asia as the Asian Cup provides us with the chance to play the bigger teams. To improve we need to learn the dominance and there is still a lot of work to be done for that.

Did you follow the Doha 2011 Asian Cup?

The last time India played in Doha (in 2011), I was a 17-year old boy and remember crying after our loss to Bahrain — a match which I felt we could have won. It was an emotional moment for a boy who was in love with the National Team and the other day in Bengaluru, it was a special moment when we qualified.

What next?

The job is not done yet. This is the first step which we have achieved because we will travel to UAE not just to participate. Rather, we need to make it to the next round for which, I reiterate, we need to work harder.

What do you attribute the unbeaten streak of the National Team to?

The biggest character of this team stays that we never give up. If you look back, we had a bad run initially but since then we have been able to turn around and it has to be attributed to the mental strength of the team.The unity in the squad is commendable, it’s like a group of brothers playing football together. That’s the understanding which we have and it’s very vital for us.

Within 2 years of making your international debut, you have earned the title of ‘Mr. Dependable.’ How much have you improved as a player?

(Smiles). The fans have been a huge support and I need to thank them for that.

But I feel it’s still a long way for me to improve as a player. I still need to work harder. Obviously, I have improved my fitness immensely and whether I have improved as a player, maybe the Coach and the others can comment. All I know is that the road is long.

The defensive back four has played a major role in taking India to this level.

I think it’s not just about the back four. If you look at the match against the Kyrgyzstan, there was a moment when Eugeneson Lyngdoh tackled in our own box which otherwise could have enabled them to score. We also have Halicharan Narzary running up and down the flanks in every match to help our side-backs.

Actually, it’s collective work with one covering up for the other. The whole team does that, so it’s not right to solely credit the back four for the defending.

What’s special about the four?

It’s the blind trust which we have amongst ourselves. Pritam Kotal, Narayan Das and I have been playing together since our U-23 days and it’s been quite a long time. Inadvertently the understanding has grown over the years, but for example, in a match, I ask anyone of the back four to turn, he will do it instantly without even thinking and I will reciprocate in the same manner if they tell me too.

Germanpreet on target as India beat Singapore in U-23 international friendly


NEW DELHI: India U-23 beat Singapore U-23 by a solitary goal in the first of the two International Friendlies played at the Chao Chu Kang Stadium in Singapore on Sunday (July 9). The tireless Germanpreet Singh, an AIFF Youth Development made product curled in the winner from inside the box in the 80th minute.

The goal had a stamp of class written all over it. Germanpreet, who with Anirudh Thapa kept the Indian midfield mobile being perfectly aided with the flanks operating at quite a high pace, latched on a back-pass from Nanda Kumar and unleashed a left-footer digging it into the left top-corner.

For National Coach Stephen Constantine this was a straight 9th victory in an International match, the previous eight having come with the Senior National Team, including the un-official match against Bhutan.

Keen to use the match as a preparation for the forthcoming AFC U-23 Qualifiers in Doha later this month, Constantine, flexible as always, made 5 substitutions, as a large section of Indians enjoyed from the stands.

The match began in a flurry with both teams not shying away from trying to seize the momentum early. But as the match progressed, India’s dominance was evident. The back-four, by the 10th minute itself were playing a high line as India with their relentless pressing and quick passes kept Singapore guessing.

India gained a free kick in the 14th minute from a prime position but Daniel Lalhlimpuia’s shot went just wide. India continued their dominance but remained elusive.

The 29th minute presented a golden opportunity but Nanda Kumar’s strike missed the far post by a whisker.

Changing over, India started in the same fashion from where they had left off. India dominated as a goal seemed inevitable but one had to wait till the 80th minute to break the deadlock.

Singapore pressed hard for the equaliser but the Indian defence stood resolute to deny the hosts any chance of a comeback. India could have doubled their lead in the 92nd minute but Germanpreet’s shot rolled out wide.

The second International Friendly is slated to be played on July 12.

Nwankwo Kanu and Esteban Cambiasso to participate in FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 draw


MUMBAI: Former Nigeria International Nwankwo Kanu and Argentina’s Esteban Cambiasso will participate in the draw for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, to be held at Mumbai this Friday.

Cambiasso and Kanu are no strangers to the U-17 World Cup as they both won it as players – Kanu in Japan in 1993 and Cambiasso in Egypt in 1997.

Kanu, one of the biggest names in Nigerian football, won the U-17 World Cup in 1993 before winning the Olympic gold for his country three years later at Atlanta in 1996.

He played for several top clubs in Europe, including Ajax, Inter Milan, Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion. Kanu has a UEFA Champions League, three English Premier Leagues, three FA Cups and a UEFA Cup winners medals to adorn his trophy cabinet.

Kanu was also chosen as African Player of the Year twice, and represented Nigeria at the 1998, 2002 and 2010 editions of the FIFA World Cup.

“The FIFA U-17 World Cup 1993 really spurred my career – within years of winning the title, I won the Olympic gold and from there as I would like to believe, there wasn’t any looking back. This tournament provides youngsters the necessary stage for development and I believe this year’s edition will provide us all with exceptional talent – much like the previous tournaments,” Kanu said.

On the other hand, Cambiasso, who is one of the most creative and elegant Argentinian midfielders, was part of the Argentinian golden generation that won the U-17 and U-20 World Cup in 1997 alongside the likes of Juan Román Riquelme, Pablo Aimar, Walter Samuel and Diego Placente.

Hailing from Buenos Aires, Cambiasso started his career at Argentina-based CA Independiente and later played for the likes of River Plate, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Leicester City FC.

More recently, the 36-year-old played for the Seuperleague Greece side Olympiacos FC and helped the club to win the title in the recently concluded season.

Apart from Kanu and Cambiasso, the draw will also be attended India’s badminton superstar PV Sindhu and India national football team captain Sunil Chhetri beside officials from the participating teams, FIFA and the host cities.