Sitting pretty on the summit of a record 9 consecutive international victories (including the unofficial match against Bhutan), National Coach Stephen Constantine prefers to “start afresh” against St. Kitts and Nevis at the Mumbai Football Arena.
“We have to start afresh and we’re ready to do so. We’re in a good shape and looking to finish off the job in a positive note,” Constantine mentioned in the pre-match press conference. “We were slow starters against Mauritius and we cannot afford to do that in every match.”
Captain Sandesh Jhingan, sitting next informed that the “half-time talk” during the last match did the trick. “The Coach insisted on the areas where we need to focus on. We worked on it and got the results,” Jhingan stated.
Constantine showed utmost respect for his counterpart as well who have salvaged a 1-1 draw against Mauritius (August 22, 2017).
“They have the potential and they proved it yesterday. Coming back from a one-goal deficit is not very easy but they did it. We have to be at our very best,” Constantine mentioned. “They are very dangerous on the counter attack.”
Jhingan said that he’s enjoying the role very much and the armband is really what entrusts him with the extra responsibility.
“Representing the National Team itself is an honour. This armband is a bonus and it has come to me with a great responsibility. Sunil Bhaiya is our real leader but until he’s not there, I’m enjoying the role,” Sandesh exuded.
Meanwhile, on being asked whether some star players’ absence in the St. Kitts and Nevis side would help to set up strategy, Constantine felt otherwise.
“I feel it’s the opposite. The other guys who have come would push their limits to prove their worth and therein lies the danger for us. We’ve to be on our toes to win,” Stephen declared.
Lauding the “mental strength of the squad,” Jhingan pronounced: “Yeah, we did concede early in the last match. But we did not panic. Conceding is a part of football but we knew we could come back strongly and we eventually got the three points.”