Yesteryear football hero Shyam Thapa who had redefined the back-volley during his playing days couldn’t stop praising the entire team for their sublime performance in India’s AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 opener against Thailand.
“I recalled my playing days seeing these young chaps – Ashique Kuruniyan and Anirudh Thapa play. Ashique has terrific energy and speed while Thapa’s finishing was too good,” he maintained.
“The Coach has done a great work bringing so many young players in the National Team. They are capable of running at the same speed and playing with same intensity for 90 minutes. It will help us going forward,” he added. “Moreover, the team has experienced players like Chhetri and Sandesh who can guide these boys on the pitch.”
Thapa, the current Chairman of the AIFF technical Committee, didn’t hide his emotions while describing the four goals – India’s biggest victory in AFC Asian Cup overcoming the 3-1 win against Hong Kong in 1964.
“All the goals were brilliant. The composure showed by Sunil before the penalty was terrific. The second goal was a terrific example of the team game. Udanta’s pass was perfectly finished by Chhetri. Truly masterclass,” he explained.
He further said that Anirudh Thapa is a special player and the future holds bright for the youngster. “The baccha (Thapa) showed the right attitude and chipped it in. The future is bright and he is on the right path.”
“The toe-poke by Jeje was something extraordinary too. What I found so positive was that not a single goal came by fluke. The game plan was executed well.”
India are slated to face hosts UAE in their next fixture and the former striker feels “midfielders will have a tough task ahead.”
“The midfielders have a tough task ahead against UAE. They need to be on their toes all throughout. The team which will control the midfield will get to win the match. They need to go deep to lay a hand in the defence as well as coordinate with the forwards up front.”