Former India captain Gouramangi Singh has said the team needs to keep trying to feature at the AFC Asian Cup every time.
In a live chat with AIFF TV, Gouramangi, talking about the significance of the qualification after a gap of 27 years, mentioned “we are on the right track.”
“The 2011 Asian Cup made us realise that we can do it — hang with those top teams. The belief, the confidence — everything was at a high,” he said.
“The World Cup is a long-term project but I think we are now on the right track. We have to keep focusing, keep trying to feature at the AFC Asian Cup every four years and try and finish among the top ten teams,” he added.
“That should be our immediate target which we can use to build on. The number of teams in the World Cup is set to increase. So the chance is going to grow and be there. We have to keep working hard and be the top ten in Asia,” the 34-year-old said.
️ @gouramangi19: Qualifying for the @afcasiancup was a wake-up call for all of us, and it was a realisation that we can be a part of the top teams in Asia #BackTheBlue #BlueTigers #IndianFootball ⚽ pic.twitter.com/oQr8dCX32k
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) September 7, 2020
Since making his India debut in 2006, Gouramangi has won a plethora of trophies with the national team, including multiple Nehru Cup and SAFF titles — along with the AFC Challenge Cup in 2008. A member of the iconic ‘Class of 2011’, he was named the AIFF Player of the Year in 2010.
Currently an A-Licence coach with Bengaluru United, Gouramangi pointed out the increase in exposure for players over the years with both club and country will continue to “benefit” the players greatly.
“We talk about the exposure tours with clubs, which is new, and also with the national team. We have been travelling abroad, getting foreign exposure and playing overseas clubs. Players in the national team set-up are used to it more or less as they have been getting to do it a lot in the last few years,” he said.