THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

India face the Maldives test



For a coach who has been the ‘most successful one’ in domestic circuit, Sunday stays a bit special. Armando Colaco may have won everything as Dempo SC’s coach but by his own confession, being at the helm of the National Team is “something different.”

“It’s exciting; there’s more responsibility. The passion for one’s country knows no bounds,” Armando said. But the seasoned coach that he is, Armando stays aware passion alone won’t win him a football match.

So much so, that he isn’t willing to take anything for granted even against Maldives, who are presently ranked four places below India, at 151 in the FIFA ladder.

“We need to finalise our Playing XI before the World Cup double-leg Qualifiers against UAE,” Armando said, hinting that he will try out his options against his first match as National Coach.

His rival counterpart, Maldives’ Argentinean Coach Diego Cruciani, in any case, isn’t too pleased in playing India. “India friendly is not my best wish to play. I would prefer a much more difficult opponent abroad to put our plans against Iran. At home we will certainly play to win,” he was quoted as saying in several reports.

The gentleman that he is, Armando refused to be drawn into a verbal duel. “We have worked hard at the camp. The boys are raring to go,” is all what he had to say. Though the boys stayed tightlipped, Cruciani’s comments didn’t please the boys at all. Armando won’t mind that for sure.

Keeping the boys for the UAE match stays the team management’s biggest challenge. “But we are taking on match at a time.” Armando informed.

However, India’s record against Maldives hasn’t been that impressive in recent times. In the last three matches, Maldives beat India on two occasions. Was that the reason for Diego’s comments? The boys would be able to answer it better, especially as Iran’s Coach Carlos Quiroz is supposed to watch from the stands.

(AIFF Press Release)