The Indian national team will face Guam in Group A of the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers and Guam’s national team Head Coach cum Technical Director Gary White is quite optimistic about the prospects for his side to advance to the finals.
The “Matao” is ranked 181st in the FIFA World Ranking and they have a mountain to climb in a qualifying group which seems to be in favour of the Indian team (169th). But Myanmar (156th) is the highest ranked team in the group and a tough side to beat, while Chinese Taipei (176th) completes the group line-up.
The country from the western Pacific Ocean is planning to pull a few surprises at the qualifiers, which will be played in a one-round league in Myanmar on March 2, 4 and 6 [+ read more].
“I think if we can secure our best players for the Challenge Cup in March, we can be a real contender to qualify,” Englishman White told the Pacific News Center (PNC).
“We can build off the fantastic performances against Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei from the EAFF (East Asian Cup) semifinals, where we shocked the footballing world with the improvements we have made in the past year. We will be able to also pull from playing against two 2010 FIFA World Cup teams,” he continued.
“The Challenge Cup matches will be another excellent opportunity to expose the Matao playing style, our program and our players,” White told. “Believe me, the other teams now take us seriously as a competitive football nation.”
Guam is an unincorporated territory of the United States and therefore many of the players are based in the US. Ten players called up for the recently concluded 2013 EAFF East Asian Cup Preliminary Round 2 are playing their football with clubs in the States.
Ryan Guy is one of the stars in the team. Guy plays for the New England Revolution in the Major League Soccer (MLS) and he has been a regular for them in league competition. Goalkeeper Doug Herrick (Seattle Sounders FC U23, USA) and defender Shawn Nicklaw (HB Køge, Denmark) are just two other players who need to mentioned.
Guam might look like an easy team to beat while looking on the FIFA World Ranking, but the squad is much better than one would expect. It will be an interesting challenge for our Indian national team and Wim Koevermans’ boys need to be careful in their first-ever international against Guam.
2013 EAFF East Asian Cup – Preliminary Round 2 – Guam’s Result
01.12.2012 | Guam 1-2 Hong Kong
03.12.2012 | DPR Korea 5-0 Guam
05.12.2012 | Chinese Taipei 1-1 Guam
07.12.2012 | Guam 0-9 Australia