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FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

We hope Indian football gets more players like Chhetri in future: Kuwait head coach Rui Bento ahead of key World Cup Qualifier

Published at :June 5, 2024 at 4:41 PM
Modified at :June 5, 2024 at 4:41 PM
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Gourav Samal

Rui Bento also talked about the preparation for the upcoming clash.

Kuwait national men’s football team is slated to face the Indian national men’s football team in their second leg of the second round World Cup Qualifiers at the Salt Lake Stadium on June 6, 2024. 

Rui Bento’s team have played four matches in the group stage and has managed to win only one match against Afghanistan by defeating them by 4-0 goals and are placed at the bottom of the table, which also consists of India and Qatar.

On the other hand, India are placed in second place with one win and one draw in four matches. The pre-match press conference of Kuwait was attended by head coach Rui Bento and player Bander Borseli who answered the queries of the media. 

Looking forward to the match against India 

After a defeat in the first leg of the match at home, Kuwait is looking to turn their fortunes in the away fixture.

When a question was raised regarding their approach toward the game against India, the coach replied, “We expect a good game tomorrow with a nice environment where two teams who are equally competitive will fight for the same cause. “I’m very excited to be here in India. We are ready for the game and it will likely be a good game of football”, added Bander Borseli. 

Facing India thrice in one year 

Kuwait faced India thrice last year. Twice at the SAFF Championship and once in the first leg of the World Cup Qualifiers. Interestingly, they haven’t had a single win against India in those three meets. 

“Yes, in one year we have faced India thrice, where we settled with a draw once and ended up as the losing side twice during the meet. For the upcoming game, we are going to take a strategic approach towards the game. We believe that we are a better team than before and expect to win the next game.

“We are also very confident about our players. And one thing about football is that histories can be made with the performances of the players”, Rui Bento added.   

India’s poor form 

The Indian team is going through poor form, as they haven’t managed a single win in a single game after their win against Kuwait, last November. But the coach admitted that India was a strong opponent and their strong approach towards the game.  

Rui bento said, “We know India is a good team but we are prepared for the clash and expect a better performance this time. Questions were raised regarding Kuwait being a heavyweight in the Asian Continent as they have already been into the final of the World Cup.  

The coach had a determined approach towards the question as he stated, “Yes, Kuwait in the past has been into the final stage of the World Cup. It was a good achievement for football in Asia. But you know, football is always a challenging sport and the amount of competition that has risen in the last few years is also commendable.” 

“Going forward, we need to tackle these situations. Maybe that’s why I have been roped in to bring the experience that I have while playing for the Portuguese National Team. And talking about the betterment of the team, this is a process that takes some time.

“Because you always need at least 15 years to be a good professional player who can be competitive under any condition. So we need a bit more time, as changes can’t happen in a single day. But we believe that we are on the right path for achieving something important”, Rui Bento added. 

Spectators at Salt Lake and Sunil Chhetri’s retirement 

Undoubtedly there will be more than 62,000 fans in the stadium, not just to witness the match but also to give a farewell to the Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri. 

Rui Bento appreciated Chhetri for his contribution to Indian football and also applauded the presence of fans at the stadium which is a positive sign for football. 

“It’s better for the teams to play against a huge crowd. And if no supporters can cheer you up, what shall we play for? And I know Chhetri. He is a good player. All the best to him for his retirement game. We hope Indian football gets more players like Chhetri in the future,” Rui Bento stated.  

Less time to prepare

The Kuwait team got less time to prepare for the match which could be a disadvantage for their side when they take on the Indian team. But Kuwait’s coach was quite confident about his players. 

Rui Bento said, “Football is emotion. I don’t see India or any team as our enemy, they are just our opponents in the game of football. Yes, we had less time to prepare because one week was not enough for preparation. But that doesn’t mean, we are not prepared to face India. We will surely give our best and look to win the game.” 

“All the teams in the group have the same goal and have the same chances to go forward. And the qualification will depend on the games and the performance of the players”, coach Rui Bento added at the end.  

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