Ahead of India’s clash against Thailand in the opening match of the Blue Tiger’s campaign in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu stated that “India will be playing for a win.”
Speaking at the official pre-match press conference, Gurpreet said: “It will be a challenge for us tomorrow against Thailand. But the boys are ready to face them. We will play for a win.”
“We have worked really hard in the last four years to be here. We will try to put on the best show possible. The boys have been doing the hard work on and off the pitch. We need to make sure the work does not go in vain,” he added. “We are proud of the self-belief which we have acquired.”
The Blue Tigers have been drawn in Group A of the AFC Asian Cup alongside hosts UAE, Thailand and Bahrain. This is India’s fourth qualification to the continental championship with time only in their history with the last qualification being in 2011.
The Blue Tigers, had finished second in 1964.
“As a team, we have proved that we can win. We are concentrating on the challenge ahead and will take one match at a time,” Gurpreet stated. “The main thing is to stay positive, and be consistent.”
The goalkeeper was also part of India’s squad in the 2011 edition of the AFC Asian Cup. Drawing comparisons, he said: “The experience of being in the squad in 2011 was huge for me. I learnt a lot from it.”
“It was a different team in 2011 when players were at their peak. This team is young and could play for years to come. The desire in this team is ever-growing and we are hungry to prove ourselves.”
India’s opening fixture against Thailand will kick-off at IST 7pm at the Al Nahyan Stadium tomorrow (January 6, 2018), and will be telecast live on Star Sports 3, and streamed live on Hotstar as well.