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India vs Jordan: Need to play against strong teams for best Asian Cup preparation, says coach Stephen Constantine

AIFF Media
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771   //    14 Nov 2018, 14:53 IST

Indian national football team head coach Stephen Constantine addresses the media ahead of India's friendly against Jordan
Indian national football team head coach Stephen Constantine addresses the media ahead of India's friendly against Jordan

In their preparation for the AFC Asian Cup in January 2019 in UAE, the Indian National Team will clash swords against Jordan for the first time ever in their history on November 17, 2018 in Amman, Jordan, in an attempt to experiment tactics and gain valuable experience going into the mega competition next year.

The clash against Jordan comes on the back of a goalless draw against powerhouses China in October 2018 where India dished out a superb performance to catch Marcelo Lippi’s men in a stalemate.

In a press conference, ahead of the clash, in the capital, Head Coach Stephen Constantine stated that the fixture against Jordan would prove to be extremely beneficial for the Indian National Team.

“We want to do well in our preparation for the AFC Asian Cup and the clash against Jordan will aid us in that as Jordan are a good side and they have a number of good players in their ranks," Constantine said.

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“We need to play teams like Jordan leading up to the AFC Asian Cup where we would be under pressure. Even the game against China was the same where if you commit a mistake around the 18 yard box, you can easily concede. However, both sides are good technical sides and both will present different challenges.

“We have a plan that we would like to implement during the game and we have watched the teams a lot. We had watched China three to four times and we are prepared for the challenges that come our way”, he added. “Our preparation to the AFC Asian Cup will also include a match against Oman and another friendly in December which is yet to be fixed.”

The Indian Team departs shores for Jordan on Thursday (November 15) after a three-day camp in the capital, where 30 players were called by the coach - including 18-year-old FIFA U-17 World Cupper Komal Thatal.

However, the Indian ranks will be without the presence of talismanic Sunil Chhetri who has been ruled out of the tie because of an ankle injury. 

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“Sunil missing for the clash against Jordan is a big blow for us. He is a great player and has been fantastic for us. He is one of those players that is irreplaceable but somebody has to take his place for the match against Jordan," Constantine said.
“However it is a great opportunity for young players to step up and although you cannot find a player of his calibre and class we need to see if the young player step up and take this opportunity.
“We need to find somebody who will be there when we don’t have Sunil Chhetri so that there is no void left in the team," Constantine added.

India have been draw in Group A of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 alongside hosts UAE, Thailand and Bahrain and face Thailand in their opening match on January 06, 2019.

“We deserved to be in the AFC Asian Cup and we are in the best position that India has been in, in some time. We will travel to Abu Dhabi with 28 players before the tournament starts and then we will drop 5 players”, the English coach stated.

“I am trying to cover all the bases and I don’t want my best players to remain injured and one of them right now is Sunil Chhetri. 

“We have a group of players that have worked on themselves in the last 4 years and I need to thank the AIFF, AIFF President Mr. Praful Patel, AIFF General Secretary Mr. Kushal Das for their constant support.”

ALSO READ: India's central defence problem

Complementing the Indian backline, Stephen said, “We would be under pressure in the AFC Asian Cup and our backline has been pretty stable. We want to put out the best team in the AFC Asian Cup to win taking in consideration the factors of the other teams and their quality," he said.

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