The National Team camp was back to its full strength with players from JSW Bengaluru FC and Mohun Bagan having joined the Camp in Mumbai after finishing their respective AFC Cup club commitments.
National Coach Stephen Constantine, however, did not rush them immediately into the practice sessions. “The Coach has given us rest for a couple of days,” informed Eugeneson Lyngdoh in an informal media interaction at the Andheri Sports Complex.
And even as the squad geared up to face Nepal in an International Friendly on June 6, Lyngdoh preferred to take a walk back down memory lane to his International debut against Nepal which happened in March 2015.
“Standing for the National Anthem wearing the National Team jersey was the moment,” he recollected. “It was a dream come true for me. I was a new player in the Team and the seniors and the Coaching staff encouraged me,” he said.
The match in Guwahati also marked Constantine´s debut in his second stint in India and one remembers the British Coach having handed International debuts to seven players in the match which India won 2-0.
“The journey over the two years has been a mixed one. We have had some tough moments as much we have had our good moments. But what´s important is that things have fallen in the right path and we are now among the top 100 Teams in the World,” Lyngdoh stated.
The National Team stay unbeaten in 11 of the last 13 International matches (including the unofficial match against Bhutan) and the giant leap of faith has helped them to rise from 173 to 100 in the FIFA Rankings since Constantine took over.
“As professional players it´s our duty to adapt to different Coaches and their strategies. In the National Team, you need to be aggressive and push right from the kick-off.”
The afternoon at the Andheri Complex was pleasant with a strong breeze blowing across with the sky being overcast and Lyngdoh felt the Team “needs to learn a lot to progress.”
Referring to a question as to whether India would further climb up the FIFA ladder, Lyngdoh remarked: “We have a lot to learn and progress. This is just the start. There´s no reason why we can´t move up. It all depends on how we approach it,” he said in one breath.
The Team is confident but don´t mistake it for over confidence. We can never afford to be complacent. The friendly against Nepal is extremely important for all of us who start and all who will come in later as much it is for the entire bench,” he maintained.
Two U-22 players – Chinglensana Singh and Laldanmawia Ralte have been released from the Camp with Subrata Paul and Cavin Lobo having been released earlier.
“The last time we played Puerto Rico in Mumbai, the atmosphere was splendid. Football won´t be Football without the fans. They provide extra energy to the squad. Come over and support us,” Lyngdoh reached out to all the fans.
“The match against Kyrgyz Republic will be a huge match for us. We will aim to get a result but for that we need to do the hard work.”
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