Despite India reaching 100 in the FIFA Rankings, National Coach Stephen Constantine stresses that “we have not achieved anything as yet.” With the National Team practising in Mumbai at the Preparatory Camp ahead of the AFC Asian Cup Qualifier against the Kyrgyz Republic, Constantine spoke at length about the recipe for success, the improvements in the squad since taking over, his expectations from a player and much more. EXCERPTS:
India have won 11 of the last 13 matches including the unofficial friendly match against Bhutan. What is the secret of the success?
I don´t think there is any secret. It´s been a combination of hard work and self-belief. When I came in, I remember mentioning that it´s a learning process as you cannot build a Team within a week or a month. It has taken around two years for us to build a side who I think on any given day are capable of competing against any Team.
What has been the improvement in the side since you took over?
One of the major improvements has been the manner in which we prepare for our matches. Our training sessions are all based on how we would play in the game and according to the physical attributes required for each specific position. So even though our training sessions may look easy from the stands, it deals with the players are required to do in their positions.
The use of the GPS systems has been a novelty. The information which we have been able to attain has been huge as it confirms to us what is done in training and in matches too.
Another very important factor has been the buy-in to the philosophy by all the players and the staff, thereby accepting an ultimatum and doing the work that is required.
What do expect from any player reporting to the Camp?
I don´t care about names. I expect the players to do the hard work when they report to the Camp. The willingness to do the work defines a player for me. As and when any player raises his hand to do it, he is available for selection in my squad.
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