India vs China Will Be a Big Test For Us, says Chennaiyin FC Striker Jeje Lalpekhlua
Indian striker Jeje Lalpekhlua feels the upcoming friendly against China, scheduled for October 13 at the Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium, will provide the team with the perfect opportunity to fine-tune their weaknesses before the 2019 Asian Cup in UAE.
The Indian national football team is playing its first-ever friendly in China during this international break. The two sides last met during the Nehru Cup in Kochi in 1997 and a lot has changed for both countries since then. Chennaiyin FC striker Jeje, for one, feels the fixture against the higher-ranked Chinese will help India improve.
"I think this game is going to be very tricky. In order to accelerate our preparation for the Asian Cup, we need to play such games (against tough opponents).
"Moreover, playing away from your home is always difficult. But the Asian Cup will anyway be held in the UAE and it's good if we play more away games now.
"The match against China is the right test to face. We're going to learn quite a few things from this game and we're looking forward to it," Jeje was quoted as saying by the AIFF.
The game against China would definitely be a tricky one for the Indians. Of late, China has invested deeply in their domestic competition Chinese Super League, which has attracted top international stars such as Carlos Tevez, Oscar, Hulk, Axel Witsel, Javi Martinez and others.
This, in turn, has seen the Chinese national team grow into a formidable one in Asia and returning with a positive result against such a team is possible for India, feels Jeje.
"China are playing smart football now," Jeje said. "The Chinese Super League has gone from strength to strength very much. They are more developed now and we have to play as a team to garner some positive result.
"The result is obviously important but the most important aspect is how we play the game," Jeje added. "Teamwork is important. We have to work together. If we are able to do this according to our plan, we can get a positive result."
Defender Sandesh Jhingan too feels the CSL has contributed to the growth of the Chinese national team in the last couple of years, but India cannot be taken lightly.
"We are eagerly looking forward to it (the game against China)," Jhingan, the Kerala Blasters captain, told the AIFF website.
"They are a respectable side. They have got huge success as a national team. Money is flowing in the league. Their ranking rightly reflects their good work towards improving the level of football.
"We need to give our 100 per cent on the pitch and focus on executing the plan. If we play as a team, the results will follow."