Indian National Team Coach Stephen Constantine, presently in charge of the India U-23 Team prefers the 'long-term goal' rather churn out quick results from the forthcoming AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers which kicks-off in Doha on Wednesday (July 19, 2017) when India play Syria in their opener. The match between India and Syria kicks-off at July 19, 2017, 07:30 PM IST.
"I've been a person who have always preferred to build a 'team for the future.' I'm working with this bunch of guys so that a few may come up the ranks and land up with the senior National Team in the coming days,” Stephen stated in the pre-tournament press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
India U-23 headed into the Championship on the back of a two-week long Camp in New Delhi followed by two back-to-back International Friendlies against Singapore in Singapore.
A year back, Syria who had made it to the finals of the last edition of the AFC U-23 AFC Championship Qatar 2016. But while their campaign didn’t go turn out to be as planned, they look forward to bettering their record at the same venue.
"This tournament is of immense importance for us and I believe, as it is for every team here. We'll give our best to qualify from this group,” Syrian coach Hussein Afash mentioned.
While Hussain Afash was asked whether the football acumen of Stephen Constantine who has been the vital cog behind India's recent meteoric rise would be a concern for him, the Syrian coach expressed that ‘team for the future' is the one to look out for.
"We're all here for the same reason. We have to build the team for the future who'll eventually feature in the senior team,” he opined.
Meanwhile, host Qatar start the campaign as the favourites. Head Coach Felix Sanchez sounded pretty confident and focused.
"The boys have performed well last edition but this is a new tournament and we've to start from the scratch. It’s time for us to execute our plans on the pitch,” Sanchez stated.