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Intercontinental Cup Important for India’s Development, Says Stephen Constantine

Indian football team head coach Stephen Constantine described next month’s four-nation Intercontinental Cup as an important tournament for the country’s progression and development in the game.

PTI

Updated:May 20, 2018, 8:54 AM IST
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Intercontinental Cup Important for India’s Development, Says Stephen Constantine
India coach Stephen Constantine (Image: AIFF)
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Indian football team head coach Stephen Constantine described next month’s four-nation Intercontinental Cup as an important tournament for the country’s progression and development in the game.

“It (the Intercontinental Cup) is a very important tournament for our progression and development. It is good that New Zealand are coming, they have a strong team. Chinese Taipei have improved in the last four-five months. And Kenyans will be strong and physical and any team from Africa will be a challenge for us,” Constantine told reporters.

“Contrary to popular belief we try to get friendly games with bigger teams and we learn more from playing against better teams,” he said.

The All India Football Federation will be hosting the Intercontinental Cup at the Mumbai Football Arena here with New Zealand, Chinese Taipei and Kenya in the fray apart from India.

The coach also indicated that India could be playing two teams from the Gulf region after this tournament, but said nothing was confirmed.

“We have five-six letters sent to the teams (that) we want to come. So (in) October, we will try to have a home game, in November we will play outside the country and then obviously we have the camp, and then we will be out of the country,” he said.

“Ideally we will be in the Gulf region for obvious reasons, we will try to play one or two Gulf region teams. Nothing is 100 percent confirmed,” the coach informed.

India will feature in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup to be held in the United Arab Emirates in January. Constantine said his only agenda was to ensure that India is successful.

“In two and half years I am here, we have given 37 international debuts, we have won SAFF Championships and half of the squad is U-23, so you have a team here for next six years,” he said.

“I build teams. I did 10 years ago. I did in Rwanda, I did it in Sudan and I am doing it here again. I think we have to give young players the opportunity, but at the right time, right moment, right game, and right opponent. We want to develop the players,” the coach stressed.

He said he did not pick some players because they were not in his scheme of things in the national team.

“I don’t care what anybody says, my only agenda is to succeed for India,” said the Englishman.

Talking about comparisons in some quarters with some famous Spanish club, he said, “We don’t have the players to the street the ball around, we are not Barcelona, we don’t have that level of players at the moment. The ISL is coming and every year it gets better. Next year, fewer foreigners, that is superb,” he signed off.

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| Edited by: Abhimanyu Sen
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