India will travel to China for the first-ever time to play an international friendly on October 13 and the Indian national football team's coach Stephen Constantine believes that it's nothing short of a competitive game between the two sides.
Ahead of the team's departure for China, Constantine said: "When you are playing for India, you have to take it seriously irrespective of whatever game you play. You are representing 1.4 billion people out there and I can’t tell you how important the game is for us."
Constantine says the team will take the fixture seriously and look to come out on top from the game at the Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium.
"Friendly or no-friendly, it’s the Indian National Team," Constantine said. "It’s only a friendly game for the world but not us. We will go all out. These boys have to earn their position in the team for the Asian Cup and they have to prove their worth on the pitch.
"We are not going there to lose. Yes, it's going to be very difficult but our objective is always is to win when we step on the pitch. If we don’t win, we'll take the positives from the game and move on," Constantine added.
The game against China will provide India a great opportunity to experiment with the side before the all-important 2019 Asian Cup, which starts in January. For this game though, striker Balwant Singh will be unavailable as he could not obtain a visa from China.
“Balwant had to drop out because of his passport, which will expire in less than six months. He has done pretty well recently. Unfortunately, we won't have him in China and we have to deal with it”, Constantine informed.
He further added: “If something happens and scenario changes overnight like this (referring the situation with Balwant Singh), you have to switch your plans. I hope, on the match day, I can put in my best eleven boys on the pitch.”
On being asked how does he rate the Red Dragons as the opponents, the coach mentioned, “China is a very good side. They like to play an attacking brand of football with high-pressing. It’s going to be a very difficult game but these are the games that we need to play. We have to play more games under pressure."Published 09 Oct 2018, 20:32 IST