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India need to play better opponents says Francis Fernandes

Fernandes believes India still have a chance in the Qualifiers

Francis Fernandes has accumulated 26 caps for India 

Ahead of the World Cup Qualification match against Iran, Indian National team player Francis Fernandes feels India need to play teams who are placed above them in friendly matches. Nepal who are placed 184th in the FIFA rankings will play a friendly against the Indian side, with the latter playing Iran, ranked 41st in the world, seven days later in a crucial qualifier.

”We should play against a team with higher rank before playing Iran. Playing Nepal is not enough,” the winger was quoted saying. 

India, who lost their first two game against Oman and Guam in the qualifiers, both by identical scores of 2-1 will now face the toughest task in the group in the shape of Iran in Bengaluru on the 8th of September. 

Fernandes, however, feels there is still some hope for the team heading into the business end of the qualifiers so they have to try to do their best. According to the 29-year-old, the youngsters in the team need some time to settle into the first team.

“Still, there is a chance,” Fernandes said. "We have to perform good and the team has to be set. There are many young players and so we have to understand each other well.”

Fernandes, who has played just missed the last two games in two years has received a call-up for the qualifiers for the first time under Stephen Constantine. He was a part of the Dempo team that faced relegation this season and is yet to sign for an I-League side for the 2016 I-League campaign.

We will definitely qualify for the semi-finals: Fernandes

He has, however, acquired a contract with Indian Super League club, Delhi Dynamos, for the second edition of the popular franchise as well after representing them in last season’s campaign. When asked about his expectations for the season, he said that he was confident that the Delhi team would be able to make it to the semi-finals of the competition this time around after narrowly missing out last time around.

Since he is not a part of any I-League club right now, Fernandes has will begin his pre-season training with the National team while preparing for the qualifiers. 

“I have not yet signed for any team[in the I-League]. The joining date is from the 23rd[August] but before that I'll be with the National team,” the former Salgaocar player was quoted by Goal.

“There are good players(at Delhi Dynamos). Some foreigners are not yet signed. I hope we can do much better this season. We will definitely qualify for the semi-finals,” he concluded.

Delhi did confirm the signing of Brazillian Chicao for the second season of the Indian Super League confirming Fernandes’ belief that more foreign players would be signed.

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