The Indian national team had their first practice session at the Jawaharlal Stadium in Margao on Sunday afternoon. Eighteen players from the 20-member squad were present in the practice session.
East Bengal players Mehtab Hossain, Arnab Mondal and Lalrindika Ralte, Mohun Bagan’s Aiborlang Khongjee, Mumbai FC’s Sandesh Jhingan and Pune FC’s Gurjinder Kumar and Amrinder Singh joined the squad post noon on Sunday.
However, the duo from Bengaluru FC, national team captain Sunil Chhetri and his striking partner Robin Singh arrived by evening and couldn’t be a part of the practice session.
While Mehtab, Arnab, Aiborlang and Sandesh went through a recovery session, the others had a full training session under the watchful eyes of ntional coach Wim Koevermans.
Mehtab, who headed to the camp straight from the Kolkata Derby where points were split said it was „nice to be back at the national camp.“
„Our last match against Bangladesh had ended in a draw. International friendlies are just so refreshing. You get to gauge yourself where you stand as a team. We are looking forward to the match,“ he told AIFF Media.
Arnab stated: „All of us head to the national camp from the mid of the Airtel I-League season. The tempo is high and we need to make the most of it in the friendly against Bangladesh.“
Aiborlang Khongjee who made his international debut against Philippines in Siliguri in the first of the two back-to-back friendlies in November 2013 felt playing for the national team has made him „more complete as a player.“
„I am a more confident player now,“ he maintained.
Balwant Singh, the striker who is the second highest Indian goalscorer in the Airtel I-League at the moment visibly enjoyed his first practice session with the national team.
„The intensity is so much higher and there is so much variation,“ he informed. „I was looking forward to the session and the manner Koevermans-Sir stresses on minute details is a lesson in itself. It was a good eye-opener. I thoroughly enjoyed it.“
Subrata Pal, fresh from his stint with his Danish club FC Vestsjælland worked at tandem with Karanjit Singh and Amrinder Singh under the guidance of goalkeeping coach Marcus Pachecho.
Amrinder for whom this has been the first call-up to the national camp said the „experience as a novel one.“
„It’s the national team. So understandably, the tempo has to be higher. It was a very fruitful session for me. The tips from Marcus-sir helped,“ he pronounced.
Meanwhile the Bangladesh squad which arrived in Goa in the evening will be having their first practice session on Monday.
(Report & Picture courtesy AIFF Media)