The Dutchman also hinted that he is not underestimating the Blue Tigers in their campaign opener on Thursday evening.

Oman face India in the first game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup AFC Qualifiers at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Thursday. Ahead of the game the visitors’ head coach, Erwin Koeman, accompanied by star midfielder Ahmed Kano spoke to the press about their opener against the Blue Tigers.

“Indian team would like to go through to the next round and so do we. So, there’s going to be a tough game tomorrow,” Koeman began before adding, “We have a lot of respect for the Indian side and the Indian people. Football is developing in the country and that’s good to see, but we are here to take (three) points and we would like to go in the next round.”

When quizzed about how the journey has been after taking over as the head coach of Oman, the Dutchman answered, “Oman is a great country, very beautiful people and a safe country. The people in the country follow football passionately and I’m happy with the team I have and tomorrow I think would be a good contest.”

“Let me tell you, football is not easy. It will be a big mistake if we are thinking we got an easy draw. It’s the worst thing you can think in football. If you think like that, you will lose,” Koeman quipped.

India last played Oman in December last year in an international friendly ahead of the AFC Asian Cup and Koeman was asked what changes he sees from the two sides that played last time out. “The teams have changed, the players have changed and there’s no real comparison between the two,” the tactician answered.

Kano was asked if the current qualification round is special, considering it is his last chance to make it to the World Cup. The veteran midfielder responded by saying, ”Our aim is to reach the World Cup and I think to reach there an individual is not important, but the whole team is important and we’ll go into the tournament as a team.”

Watch Full press conference here

“There will be pressure. India is a really good side and there’ll be crowd supporting India, but my boys would be up for the challenges and my team likes such challenges,” he added.

Koeman, who replaced Pim Verbeek at the helm of the Omani side in February, has not managed to get much time with the national team. When asked about it he seemed upbeat. “The national team coaches don’t have much time to implement their philosophy. It will take time. We will train and we will practice. Obviously, we have seen some video clips and we are trying to follow that philosophy.”