Stephen Constantine coached Indian football team shall be locking horns against 125th ranked St. Kitts and Nevis on Thursday in Mumbai Football arena as part of their last preparatory match before their AFC Cup qualifier against Macau in September.
High on confidence the Indian team shall be coming into the match at the back of an impressive 9 match winning streak. The Blue Tigers had handed Mauritius a 2-1 defeat in the opening match of the Tri-Series.
India coach Stephen Constantine is expected to give a few more young players an opportunity before finalising his squad for the Macau match, which will be played on September 5. On a nine-match unbeaten run, India defeated Mauritius 2-1 in the opening match of the tri-series here, a match in which strikers Robin Singh and Balwant Singh found the back of the net. Coach Constantine handed debuts to Balwant, goalkeeper Amrinder Singh, Nikhil Pujary and Manvir Singh in that game and is expected to continue his policy on Thursday as well.
The Indian defence shall be centered around Sandesh Jhinghan, who would have to assume additional responsibility in the absence of first-choice goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who will join the team later this month along with Sunil Chhetri. The duo is currently in Bengaluru, discharging their club duties. “We have tendency to start slow and that sometimes causes problem as it did with Mauritius.
They got the first goal, even Puerto Rico (in an international friendly last year) got the first goal. We need to come out little bit quicker, that is one of the key areas. Defence is obviously is one of the key areas,” he said.“St. Kitts and Nevis did a good job in containing Mauritius. They (St. Kitts and Nevis) are quite dangerous especially on the counter attack and you could see in the goal against Mauritius),” he said.
St Kitts and Nevis, who were held by a lower-ranked Mauritius to a 1-1 draw, would like to put up an inspired show against the favourites. Their coach Jacques Passy also conceded that India are a formidable side compared to them despite the absence of several first-team players. “They (India) are absolute favourites to win the tournament. It is no more a three-nation, but a two-nation tournament. Our focus is on India,” Passy said.