Welcoming Nepal into the ‘World of Football’ post earthquake, National Coach Stephen Constantine stated the International Friendly against Nepal serves as platform to test the cohesion of the Indian Team.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference, the no-nonsense Coach said: “In Europe you get a lot of time with the Players, down here you get around 10 days to test the Team. Hence, this match will give us a platform to see how the Indian Players perform under certain circumstances.”
Constantine was flanked on two sides by two ‘war veterans,’ Subrata Pal and Sunil Chhetri at the Official Pre-Match Interaction.
“Subrata will be the Captain for tomorrow’s (August 31) match against Nepal while Sunil (Chhetri) will be the vice-captain.”
“I will obviously try to impart as much knowledge and information as I can but it is up to the Players to perform on the pitch,” Constantine echoed.
“At the moment all of our focus is on the match tomorrow. We are here for a cause. Everything else in Football or related to the sport is immaterial to all of us at the moment. The National Team is the priority and stays the sole focus,” Pal maintained.
Chhetri complemented him adding: “You have to give your cent percent when you are a part of the National Team. There are no excuses to it. You have to perform and give it your best shot.”
While India are ranked 156 in the latest FIFA Rankings, Nepal lag 28 places behind at 184. But Constantine understands that the Rankings will be reduced to a quantitative figure of no importance, once the match kicks-off.
“We need to win tomorrow. It is as simple as that. Nepal are not an easy opposition – they were not in the World Cup Qualifiers. We cannot just look down on somebody. First we have to try and gain our respect back as a Team,” the Coach pronounced.
“Our performance against Oman was commendable and against Guam, we did not play against 11 Guamanians; you need to understand that.”
With innovative technology like the GPS System being avidly implemented in the National squad, Constantine reiterated the Players can’t “cheat anymore.”
“We are looking forward to using the GPS Systems tomorrow. We have around 12 systems ready.”
In fact, in the history of Indian Football, this is the first time, GPS systems would be used for the match, subject to approval from the Match Commissioner.
As already permitted by FIFA, the Indian Team management have put in a request to the Match Commissioner to facilitate using the system against Nepal.
Explaining the importance of the GPS System the British Coach quipped: “The information that the GPS System gives us is incredible and fascinating. We have information down to the heartbeat, to the last inch, to the last second.”
“The Information pushes the Player harder. It is to say – Hey, you have it in you, you need to work more. In Australia they have been using the GPS System for the last 14 years. It was time we caught up with the World.”
With an influx of youth in the squad, the onus lies of the likes of Sunil Chhetris and Subrata Pals to impart experience and knowledge on them.
“It’s more of being available to the younger Players. I lead by example, so that the other Players follow me. It is more of encouraging the Players rather than giving them lectures,” Chhetri stated.
“It’s about inspiring them and telling them the minute technicalities of the game,” Pal concluded.
(Report & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)