Intercontinental Cup 2018: 'If the Government is listening, send us to the Asian Games,' urges Stephen Constantine
4th June’18, Mumbai: Mumbai unfurled a new page in the history of Indian football when they surpassed the stadium capacity and recorded a massive 8,890 attendance on the 100th appearance of Sunil Chhetri.
Chhetri and co. made sure that those fans go home with lots of Indian Football to talk about, as the new-look young side, vanquished a physically superior Kenya side 3-0. The win was even more special as Chhetri marked the occasion with a brace and was joined in by a stupendous strike from Jeje Lalpekhlua.
While reflecting on the game, Stephen Constantine was totally vociferous about the youngsters in his team and requested the government and IOA (Indian Olympic Association) to send the football team for the upcoming 2018 Asian Games.
“If the government is listening to me, I would like to request them to send us for the Asian games. It’s an U-23 event and we have 11 players who are below 23, in this squad. The benefit will be huge that we can gain from the Asian Games with these players”, the Englishman quipped.
Speaking on the importance of more tournaments and friendlies before the AFC Asian Cup, the Indian National Football team’s gaffer, had a lot to say.
“Any International that we played from the moment we qualified for the Asian Cup; is important. I have been utilising all these games starting from the Myanmar clash, to try a few things out. These are the opportunities where you get to try some new faces in the team and start the preparation for the main battle in Asian Cup” Constantine said.
Stephen continued to stress on how important it is for India to play more such games before flying off to UAE in January, next year.“ Normally we don’t play any Internationals during this time. Before the Asian Cup, we have only SAFF cup and one or two matches in October and November which will be followed by a camp. So we need more such games to prepare better for the AFC Asian Cup”.
Constantine also lavished praises on the organisers in Mumbai Football Arena. A massive downpour graced the first half, which made the proceedings incredibly hard with puddles of water accumulating throughout the ground.
However, the organisers and the local volunteers worked their heart-out, to ensure that the national team gets the ground, in the best possible condition in the second half. Needless to say that their efforts bore fruits and was followed by an inspired performance by the Blue Tigers in that next half. Constantine was spot on and didn’t forget to thank them before concluding.