It rains and ends before you even manage to run indoors. So when in Guam, never look for a shade unless it’s a typhoon. The passing clouds overhead in their obsession to play mischief, sprinkle water for a few minutes; and then they vanish.
But the NRIs don’t. In a Country of some 150,000 people, there are around 50 Indian families who stay in the picturesque Island. You bump into them at the Hotel Lobby, they also there to cheer during the practice sessions. The young kids, despite having a US Citizenship, stay busy in taking autographs. Everyone obliges.
The Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 match between Guam and India in the Russia 2018 World Cup Qualifiers is being advertised on local Radio networks. At the Fitness Centre, as and when the RJ informs about the timing (Guam Time 4.15pm – IST: 11.45am), some burly young ones for that split second take a break from pumping iron to listen. “We need to go and cheer for the lads, folks. It's 4.15 pm tomorrow,” you overhear someone telling the other. The pumping gathers more power, thereafter.
We are focused on India: Guam captain Cunliffe
Post Guam’s ‘historic’ solitary goal victory over Turkmenistan, Captain Jason Cunliffe informs that the “focus shifted immediately on India after the final whistle.”
“The match ended, we won and we stopped there. We started focusing on India and aim for three points,” Cunliffe informs at the Official pre-match Media Interaction.
The two Coaches -- best of pals, meet, greet, hug, smile, laugh and speak Football.
Guam Coach Gary White informs that they are “looking forward to the game.”
“It’s likely to be a competitive one. Win or perish – both Teams would go out to get those three points. We have watched India’s match against Oman and must say that there seems to be a new life in the Indian Team. They looked very organised and it will be difficult to break them down,” he states.
We are here to win the game: Constantine
National Coach Stephen Constantine, nevertheless, isn’t much willing to read into the disparity in the FIFA Rankings. “We are not in a position to look at the FIFA Rankings. Every Team have their plus and minus-es. Guam having won their last match against Turkmenistan are going to be encouraged, stay motivated and be ready to play,” National Coach Stephen Constantine tells www.the-aiff.com.
“They have several of their Players playing in the US with a couple playing in the USA. Obviously they have the edge of having two home back to back Home games and they are going to maximize it as much as possible as everyone would,” Constantine further states.
“But we are here to win the game. Whoever the opponent may be, we go to the field with a positive mind frame.”
“I think that we are a new Team and this is just the second time I have had the Players in four months. In comparison, Gary (White) have been here for two years and Paul (ne Guen) have been with Oman for over four years now. Understandably that makes a huge difference,” he mentions to www.the-aiff.com.
“As we are trying to build a team and trying to qualify at the same time, it makes it all the more hard. But the boys have responded well and I am proud of them.”
That Constantine has fielded 13 debutants in the last three matches is a well-known stat in Guam. “There’s an abundance of talent in India and I am looking for young players who have the ability to develop and give India the team for the next 5 years,” he refers to a question at the Official Media Interaction.
This is a different Guam team: Chhetri
Sunil Chhetri, named Captain for the match stresses on taking “one match at a time.”
“If you take one match at a time, the target stays lesser. So right now, we have moved on from our last match and are focussing on Guam,” he quips.
“Technically and tactically there have been a lot of changes in the team. The hunger and desire is back in the squad and we need to collectively give 100 percent to get results,” he maintained.
“Guam have definitely improved a lot from the last time we played them. On the surface, one didn’t give them much of a chance against Turkmenistan but this squad is a different side altogether. Their win speaks volumes of the improvement and we have huge respect for Guam.”
The match is slated to kick-off at 4.15pm (IST: 11.45am) tomorrow (June 16) on an artificial turf. “We have artificial turfs back Home in India so that’s not much of a problem. You need to be prepared to play on all sorts of terrains,” Constantine echoed.
The weather is a bit humid with a predicted temperature of 31 degrees. Obviously it may rain but will end before one even gets wet.