A win in Myanmar in 64 years! A day after winning the away match against Myanmar in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers 2019, National Coach Stephen Constantine said that “none of the players were born that time.”
“Neither I was born,” he quipped the next moment. In the first of the two-series interview, Constantine mentions about the significance of the result, shrugging off the tag of ‘not being able to win away matches,’ danger of complacency creeping in, ‘winning an away Gold,’ and much more. EXCERPTS:
India won in Yangon after 64 years. Are you aware of that?
64 years is a long time -- a very long time indeed. I was told that Myanmar have always been India’s bogey team but I was never aware of this slice of history.
What was your immediate reaction when you came to know about it?
The players were not born; neither was I.(smiles).
I am happy that we have broken the Myanmar jinx which has plagued over the 64 years. I am also happy that we have got rid of the tag of ‘not being able to win away matches’ which we had for long.
What does it mean to Indian Football?
When you look at the game most people may think it’s not a major issue – Myanmar is not a powerhouse in Asian Football. But when you look at the significance and what it means to Indian football, this is perhaps one of the biggest wins in our recent history. When you look at from inside, it’s bigger than huge. We now need to build on this.
Where does it put India?
It puts us in the place where we wanted to be. All the Teams will back themselves to win their home matches and try and nick something from the away games. In that perspective, we have won an away gold.
You keep referring to the away loss against Guam. Given the fact that India has 5 matches still left, do you fear a repeat of such a result?
The result against is something which I will not forget for a number of reasons. The compete disrespect which most people showed for Guam affected the team. We were way too confident and casual in our approach and we cannot allow this to happen again. I will not allow myself and players to be complacent again and fall into the trap.