With the Indian Men’s Senior National Team having kicked-off their preparatory camp in Doha, the Blue Tigers in unison maintained that the result of the International Friendlies in Dubai in March won’t have any impact on forthcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Qualifiers slated to be played from June 3 onwards.
Star goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu feels that it’s a matter of having three clean slates for the remaining matches in the World Cup Qualifiers, and that it is up to the boys to script their own fates.
“The less we think about it, the better. It’s past. But it’s significant to remember what happened as it drives us to understand the part we need to work upon. We have three clean slates in front of us. It’s up to us as to what we need to write upon them,” he averred.
The Senior National Team has already had a camp earlier this year in Dubai, after the completion of the domestic season, following which, they participated in two FIFA International Friendlies against Oman and UAE.
Defender Pritam Kotal highlighted that the perspectives are entirely different from one another.
“The perspective of Dubai and Doha are entirely different. In Dubai, we played two different teams in the two matches. That was our return to International Football after almost 16 months. The two matches enabled us to slap all the negatives. June will surely be better,” he opined.
India are scheduled to play Asian Champions Qatar on June 3, Bangladesh on June 7, and Afghanistan on June 15 with all three matches to be played at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha.
Manvir Singh insisted that the “mixed bag in Dubai” was of huge help.
“Friendly matches always present a chance to set an aim to improve yourself. Dubai was different, Doha will be entirely different. But yeah, Dubai helped us a lot in many aspects. In that sense, the mixed bag in Dubai has been extremely helpful,” he quipped.
The Blue Tigers landed in Doha on May 19, and were in quarantine at the team hotel till they received the results of the RTPCR tests conducted upon arrival.
Meanwhile, Anirudh Thapa expressed that the 1-1 draw against Oman in March in Dubai was a “huge result for Indian Football.”
“We made a huge positive impact against Oman – that too with 10 debutants. I always look at the positives, and that to me was a huge result for Indian Football. In the Qualifiers, we will have a full squad at our disposal. The Dubai results will have absolutely no impact in Doha,” he said in one breath.
The Qualifiers are being played in Doha in view of the COVID pandemic situation which doesn’t allow the original format of home and away matches. India are currently on 3 points from 3 matches in Group E.
Midfielder Suresh Singh, one among the ten debutants in the match against Oman in Dubai, felt past results never affect professional players.
“Dubai is past. As professional players, the past never affects us. Players are professional enough and understand how to react on the pitch. In Doha, we are the underdogs. Let’s not forget, that in Dubai, we never had our full strength at our disposal,” he stated.
(Nilanjan Datta / AIFF Media)