Indian National Team Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu feels the impact of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 will be “huge for Indian Football.”
"21 out of the 23 players in the team were playing at such a stage for the first time. Now, we want to take it from here. It is important for us to deliver at the big stages and we shall do so," Gurpreet said.
“The impact of the competition will be huge for Indian Football.”
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India had begun their campaign with a convincing 4-1 victory over Thailand. But thereafter, the Blue Tigers bowed out in the first round after losing back to back matches against hosts UAE and Bahrain.
The exit prompted head coach Stephen Constantine to resign from the job. Under Constantine, India rose from 171st in the FIFA rankings to a high for 95th, breaching the top 100 for the first time since 1990.
"This team can go places if we remain united, and the game plan is in the right place. We are out of the tournament but we can certainly do more than we did,” he stated.
"We were not at our best against Bahrain," stated Gurpreet. "I had to make sure that we were in the game till the very last minute. It was difficult physically and mentally as they were coming at us all guns blazing. We fought till the end but fell short."
Gurpreet, who was also a part of the 2011 Asian Cup squad maintained the “team matched their opponents in all the three matches.”
“We fought and there weren't any one-sided games. We matched our opponents every minute and were even better than them on many occasions. We got points on the board, and showed that we could match our opponents,” he opined.
In 2011, India had also lost to Bahrain by a 2-5 margin in the first round.Published 24 Jan 2019, 15:52 IST