The 23-year-old will be one of the players to watch out for in the forthcoming qualifiers.

An opportunity to don the blue at what is often hailed as the ‘Mecca of Indian football’, the Salt Lake Stadium has Indian national team forward Liston Colaco raring to go as the Blue Tigers face Cambodia in their first Group D match of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers – third round on Wednesday, June 7, 2022.

The Goa-born forward although is not a stranger to the Salt Lake Stadium, having featured for his club side ATK Mohun Bagan in the recently-concluded AFC Cup group stage matches. However, Liston who made his senior national team debut just over a year ago is yet to play at home, let alone Kolkata representing the national side.

“It will be a very proud moment for me, to realise what every young boy dreams of playing for his country. I had a taste of the atmosphere before while playing for ATK Mohun Bagan. The fans here in Kolkata are football crazy. I hope they come to the matches to cheer for the national team in the same manner as well,” said Colaco.

Liston who signed for city giants ATK Mohun Bagan last season scored four goals in the AFC Cup in Kolkata along with eight goals last ISL season for the Green and Maroons. However, he is desperate to tick off his tally for the national team. The 23-year-old hopes the moment would arrive over the next week, carrying over his rich vein of form.

“I have been waiting for a long time (for the first India goal). I hope in these three matches, I can get one if not 3-4 goals,” quipped Liston Colaco. The cause of getting India over the finishing line in terms of qualifying for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup is not lost on Colaco as well. “Firstly, it will be a huge achievement for the national team, and for a player, it is the platform to step up and perform at the highest level,” he said.

Colaco has been earmarked as one of the future stars of the national team. He believes the current squad, filled with youngsters such as himself can form the core of the national team over the next decade in trying to make India a top football team in the region.

“If we keep on improving ourselves, as we do always in our training. I think this young group is talented and hard-working. So if we maintain this, we can surely achieve greater things for the national team in time to come,” said Colaco.

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