A couple of days prior to India’s World Cup Qualifier clash against ‘Giants of Asia’ Iran, Subrata Paul stressed that India will stay all “focussed” and play with “passion” when it kicks-off at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on September 8.
“We will play as a Team. Football is all about attacking as a Team and it’s also all about defending as a Team,” he stated while speaking during a Media Interaction prior to Team India practice on Saturday (September 5) evening.
“In Football anything is possible and any Team possess the power to upset their opponents on any given day,” Paul maintained.
“Having said that we stay fully aware of Iran’s potential, their strength and their prowess,” he added. “But I reiterate, in Football it’s all about that particular day. Every Team needs to do their job and if you can do it, you can dream,” he later told AIFF Media.
“We can guarantee our fans that we will play and give our hundred percent on the pitch. We will fight for every inch and for every ball,” Paul who Captained India in the last International Friendly against Nepal on August 31, said.
Meanwhile, the Indian National team had double practice sessions on the day, sweating it out both in the morning and evening at the Stadium.
India are yet to open their account in the World Cup Qualifiers after successive defeats to Oman and Guam respectively.
“We are taking one match at a time. Right now, we are focusing on the Iran match. Commenting about the tally of points and our position in the Group isn’t possible at the moment,” the ‘Spiderman’ echoed.
The Custodian who has been an integral part of the National Team setup when inquired about the fire-power in Iran’s arsenal, Paul flamboyantly asserted, that he isn’t “scared of anybody.”
“For me, on the ground everybody is equal. Players from the other Team would also be having two legs, two hands and one head,” he smiled. “They are same as us. Why should one get scared?” he quipped.
“But I reiterate, we respect Iran as a Team. They are special. They have been regular qualifiers to the World Cup and their quality speaks about themselves. But we would be wearing the Indian jersey and representing 1.24 billion people. That itself is a motivation for all,” he said on behalf of the entire squad.
For the record, Iran, the top most Team in Asia stand at 40 in the FIFA ladder while India are at 155.
Reflecting on the preparation, Paul said: “We played well against Oman and we have improved a lot since that performance. Right now we have a very talented crop of Players in the National setup. But one needs to patient,” he pronounced.
Since National Coach Stephen Constantine took over, India have fielded 15 debutants in the four matches so far under the British Coach.
Paul also made a special mention of his Goalkeeping Coach Rogerio Ramos and Sports Scientist Danny Deigan and their “value addition to Indian Football.”
“(Rogerio) Ramos is one of the best Goalkeeping Coaches that I have ever had in my career. He is technically very sound and I am lucky to him. I wish I was lucky enough to have him when I was a budding Footballer. He is amazing,” Paul stated.
“At the same time, Danny Deigan is also an imperative addition to the Indian contingent. Sports Science is visible in all of our training sessions and the value addition has been immense,” Paul stressed.
“Both Danny and Ramos are also working with the U-19 National Team as well and that gives us a wonderful chance to the lads to learn from the very best in the business.” Paul pronounced.
The lanky Goalkeeper stayed confident that “Bengaluru would rise to the occasion.”
“Bengaluru is always a lively City to play in. It’s a sports oriented City. We expect the fans to come in numbers, support us and Back the Blue.”
“The chants are just amazing and make us motivated and feel special.”
(Report & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)