Hero Intercontinental Cup

Good opportunity to test ourselves against higher-ranked countries, says Ichiro Otsuka

Yash Pratap SinghYash Pratap Singh

June 8 2023
Ichiro Otsuka

The Mongolia head coach also spoke about the domestic league and the shift in conditions.

The latest edition of the Hero Intercontinental Cup is on the horizon and is set to be played in Odisha. The tournament returns to action after almost four years and is expected to live up to its billing. Three teams from differing confederations: Mongolia, Lebanon, and Vanuatu join India for the third iteration of the tournament.

The opener will see hosts India go up against first-time invitees Mongolia. Both sides will be eager to take to the field and unleash their true potential. Ahead of the game tomorrow, Mongolia head coach Ichiro Otsuka addressed the media. Here are the edited excerpts from the pre match press conference.

Preparation against India

The head coach began by sharing his thoughts on how his team is preparing for the first game against India. He said his team is very motivated to play against the host nation, despite the huge difference between their FIFA rankings.

“I already told you that our ranking is not high and we play against India who are very highly ranked. We are very happy and motivated to play against them. I contacted Arata Izumi about India before coming here. 

Otsuka further went on and shared the details about how Arata Izumi, his former player helped him know more about the Indian Team.

“He told me a lot about India. India is a strong team compared to our team. We have concentrate on our defending first and we have some ideas which I cannot say at the moment,” said the head coach.

Mongolian Domestic setup

The Japanese tactician was also questioned about the domestic footballing structure of Mongolia. Ichiro Ostuka said that there are 10 teams in the Mongolian Premier League.

“Yes, we have a Mongolian Premier League which consists of 10 teams. But it is not very competitive because there is a huge difference between the top team and the bottom team. That’s why we have to play against higher ranked teams because it’ll help us improve. The upcoming games are a big challenge for us and improve our team ahead of the world cup qualifiers.

He then told the media that there are foreign players as well in the league who come from various other continents.

“We have European players alongside Japanese and Brazilian players who compete in the Mongolian Premier League with our domestic players,” Ichiro Ostuka added.

Conditions in India

The head coach was also asked about the weather conditions in India and he said that there’s a vast difference from what he experiences in Mongolia.

“Yes, there is a huge difference. In Mongolia it has been snowing since the last two weeks, but here it is so hot and humid. But, we will do the best because it is a good opportunity to test ourselves against the higher ranked teams,” Ichiro Ostuka signed off.

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