As the Senior National Team assembles in Mumbai for the preparatory camp ahead of the Asian Cup Qualifiers UAE 2019, National Coach Stephen Constantine says that he expects “hard work, commitment and professionalism” from the boys reporting at the Camp. In a freewheeling interview, Constantine speaks at length about the mission at the camp, his expectations from the boys, the difference the camp will make, the crucial match against Myanmar and much more.EXCERPTS:
How does it feel to be back with the boys?
For me these are the best moments when you are able to train with the National Team. It’s the thing which I do best. The National Team obviously is the mirror of a Nation’s Football and I think in these last two years we have managed to make the Nation proud. We still have a long way to go but our objective will be to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
What will you be stressing on in the Camp?
Given the fact that we have not been together for quite some time the most important thing will be how quickly we can get back to the rhythm with regards to player understanding and our general attitude. We have to prepare carefully for the difficult games which we to play.
What do you expect from the boys?
It will be the same what I expect from them every time they come to the Camp. At the Camp its hard work, professionalism, and enthusiasm.
How much is this preparatory Camp going to make a difference for the International Friendly and the away match against Myanmar?
I cannot stress enough on the importance of us having International Friendlies before competitive games. The Hero I-League has been given a break and I need to thank Mr. Sunando Dhar for that. This time is absolutely vital for us. We need this support all the way throughout the qualifiers.
What are your thoughts on the first Group A match against Myanmar?
One needs to be conscious that they qualified on merit for the FIFA U-20 World Cup on merit and this goes to highlight the good work which is being done in Myanmar and the consistency that they will carry from their junior National Team to the seniors.
Myanmar are a young squad and their German Coach has developed the boys over the last eight years. They have shown in the recent Suzuki Cup that they have developed into a very good side and they will be very difficult to beat at home. For sure, it will not be an easy game, either, home or away.
Would we be seeing new faces in the final list?
My policy is not to select new players just for the sake of having new players. Players who have made their debut under me have done so because they have shown me something and deserve to be in the squad. The policy continues.
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