India switched to competitive mode when the seven-time winner faced Bangladesh in the SAFF Championship at Male National Football Stadium in the Maldives on Monday.
After training the team, national coach Igor Stimac said that “the first game is always the most difficult” and added about opponents Bangladesh: “Bangladesh are well-known opponents, but we respect them very much. In fact, we respect every single team that plays here and they have an equal chance of winning the tournament. “
“The message from our coaching staff and the national head coach is very clear,” Sunil Chhetri told the-aiff.com at the press conference on the eve of the game.
“It’s more and more about how we play. We have to make sure that we minimize our mistakes and we have to make sure that we give 100 percent in every game, no matter what. We can’t be complacent, ”said Sunil.
It was raining and according to the local MET office, unlike the monsoons, the rain will not last all day. “We never take rain seriously at this time of year unless there is a warning from the MET office. If it rains, just find shelter and check your phone for 10 minutes. By then, the rain will stop, ”said Ibrahim, a former soccer player and local coordinator for the Indian team.
Stimac made no secret of the fact that he will make the most of the ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC players who previously played in the Maldives’ AFC Cup. “We rely on players from Bengaluru FC and ATKMB because a few weeks ago they not only played here but also worked with their respective clubs. And they had enough training sessions and games. So your engines are good for a tournament like this, ”the national coach told the-aiff.com. “We have to be careful how many minutes we give each player based on what they can do at the moment in terms of stamina.”
Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who was part of the triumphant squad in 2015, added: “The teams have improved a lot since the last game. The teams have become more organized and know how to play with the other team’s weaknesses. You can no longer take a team lightly. “
A 16-year veteran of international football, Sunil insisted he didn’t want to lose a game for the country. “When you’re young, you play for a lot of things. Many of them lose weight as they age. I’ve played over 100 games for India, I don’t have another 100 and I want to make the most of all the games I have left. I want to win a game when I play for my country. Both games against Bangladesh were extremely difficult. I don’t want to lose a game for my country, ”he said.
Stimac also mentioned Udanta Singh, who received a “deserved appointment” to the national squad. “Udanta is one of 23 players we have here. He earned this reputation with his last game for Bengaluru in the AFC Cup. Udanta hasn’t played in his natural position for the past two years, ”explained Stimac. “We need him to be in top form again – to hit straight forward with his speed, to seize the opportunities and to prepare.”
The kick-off tomorrow (Monday, October 4th) is at 4.30 p.m. IST.
India matches will be broadcast live on Eurosport
India’s games in the SAFF Championship will be broadcast live on Eurosport. India will play their first game against Bangladesh on October 4th, followed by games against Sri Lanka on October 7th, Nepal on October 10th and Maldives on October 13th.
AIFF would like to thank Eurosport for participating in the broadcast of India’s games in the SAFF Championship and, with full reliance on the technical expertise of Eurosport, the association is looking forward to providing all fans with a seamless live experience.
According to the format, five teams will compete in a round robin format, with the two best moving into the final, which is scheduled for October 16.
The following are India’s group stage games:
October 4: Bangladesh vs India (IST 4.30 pm).
October 7th: India vs. Sri Lanka (IS 4.30 p.m.).
October 10: Nepal vs. India (IST 9:30 p.m.).
October 13: India vs. Maldives (IST 9:30 p.m.).
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