Former stars praise Indian football team
New Delhi, Aug 30 (PTI) Former India defenders Mahesh Gawli and Deepak Mondal have praised the current national football team for its recent success, saying coach Stephen Constantine has brought in a fighting spirit.
India have won nine international matches on the trot, including an unofficial game against Bhutan.
Constantine's past pupils who were part of the Indian team for the 2011 Asian Cup in Doha, joined in the applause.
"The 2011 Asian Cup was a huge learning experience for us. This present team is on a roll and are very close to repeating the feat. Make it count," ace defender Mondal said.
"Constantine has brought in a fighting spirit into the team and that provide our boys with a cutting edge over their opponents," he added.
The sturdy defender lauded the unbeaten run and credited 'the team effort' for this achievement.
"It rightly reflects how well-tuned they are at the moment. Right from the coach to the players, everyone is operating together as a team."
Mondal's central defence partner Mahesh Gawli also sounded exuberant.
"As former footballers, we look for an upward graph of our national team. I'm really happy that they are doing well. I wish all the best for their forthcoming match against Macau," he said.
Abhishek Yadav, presently an AIFF executive committee member and who started his international career under Constantine in 2002, felt qualification for the 2019 Asian Cup will be the best thing for Indian football.
"In 2011, we qualified for the AFC Asian Cup after 27 years and these boys are on the verge of making it again within 8 years. It shows we have made significant progress recently and we're in the right direction to reach the next level," Yadav, who scored the golden goal in the LG Cup final for India, stated.
Mondal and Gawli were all praise for the current defensive unit.
"I learnt they didn't concede a goal for 300-odd minutes. That's really stupendous in International Football at any point of time. It shows that the defenders, the goalkeeper and others are perfectly synchronised and they've to maintain this until the job is finished," Mondal said.
Gawli pointed out that 'the healthy competition' is the key to success.
"There's a healthy competition amongst the defenders and this is a good headache for the Coach. Constantine has been rotating the squad and more youngsters are getting the opportunities to showcase their talent. It just reiterates his trust on his boys," Gawli stressed