Intercontinental Cup 2018: Indian football team's participation for Asian Games not yet confirmed, says Stephen Constantine
Indian national coach Stephen Constantine addressed the media ahead of the final encounter in Intercontinental Cup against Kenya and stated that there hasn’t been any intimation, sent to AIFF from the government or Indian Olympic Association; officially or in written, for the approval of Indian football team’s participation in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.
Although there was a news flying around that Indian football team has been cleared to take part in 2018 Asian Games by the Government, Indian gaffer differed.
“Hopefully the snippets of news I am getting that the Olympic Committee and the government has decided to send us to the Asian Games. But they have not officially conveyed it to us. We have not received anything in writing.”
This puts a question mark over the preparation of the National team which would be constituted of U-23 players and three senior players. The Asiad will be commencing from the second week of August and it is of paramount importance, that the footballers must know the roadmap to such continental extravaganza. Even if the national team is cleared to take part in the Asiad, the intimation of that should have been immediate, so that the concerned body can kickstart their preparation for a platform where the national pride is involved.
However, IOA on Friday confirmed through Secretary General Rajeev Mehta, that the Indian U23 football team has been given the green light to participate in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.
.Constantine further added that if the confirmation arrives he will set up a preparatory camp in July. “If that is the case (clearance to Asiad), then I will be thankful. It is a great move and it gives our boys the much needed added exposure, so that will be our next camp next month,” he said.
Anirudh Thapa, who accompanied his gaffer to the conference has been a pivotal part in the midfield and Constantine stressed on the importance of young players like him. “It has been my mantra in India and just about everywhere I have been. I believe in youth, young players. In the last three and half years, we have given 30 international debuts, 15 of those have proved to be decent players and we have an U23 side coming and 10-11 of them are in this squad," concluded.