Call India a big team once we are regular at AFC Asian Cup, says coach Stephen Constantine

Stephen Constantine said that India will not emerge as a big team until they become a regular at the Asian Cup or reach the final stages of World Cup Qualifiers. He added that they are on the right track.

By: Express Web Desk | Published: June 1, 2017 7:04 pm
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Stephen Constantine said that India will not emerge as a big team until they become a regular at the Asian Cup or reach the final stages of World Cup Qualifiers. India retained their top 100 spot in the FIFA rankings on Thursday.

The coach said that although they are on the right track, considering themselves as a big team is far from reality.

“Some people do feel that I always make the other team look bigger than us. That’s because at the moment we are trying to establish ourselves in Asian football. Once we are perpetually qualifying to the AFC Asian Cup and to the final qualifying stages of the World Cup from Asia, we can start to think and feel we are a big team. We are not there yet but are on the right track,” said Constantine, who is on his second stint with the country.

The Briton said that they have certainly raised the bar in the last two years. “I understand we have been able to raise the bar over the last two years and that’s what the intent was. However, in the larger scheme of things we have not achieved anything. After our International friendly against Nepal, we play against Kyrgyz Republic and they are a very dangerous and difficult opponent.”

“As far as they want. I think the nucleus of this team is there for the next 4-5 years and right now we are focussing on the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 which is on the top of our priority list.”

On Kyrgyz Republic, Constantine said “You think of the belt they are coming from and their neighbouring countries — Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan – you will understand that they are all very capable players. They will be very difficult and we expect very difficult games, both at home and away.”

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