Stephen Constantine is expecting India to register upsets at the AFC Asia Cup 2019
Written by: AFC-The Asian Football Confederation
India will compete in the SAFF Championship in September in Bangladesh.
Football in India has been on the rise with the Blue Tigers racking up back-to-back successes in recent years and head coach Stephen Constantine believes his charges can cause a major upset in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019. India are grouped alongside hosts UAE in Group A, as well as Thailand and Bahrain.
In March 2015, India slipped to their lowest FIFA ranking of 173, but have grown from strength to strength since, claiming the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship in the same year, the 2017 Tri-Nations Series and most recently in June, where they beat Kenya 2-0 to clinch the 2018 Intercontinental Cup. India are now ranked 97.
“If you look at the current FIFA rankings, we’ve gone from 173 to 97, we qualified for the AFC Asian Cup, we won the Tri-Nations trophy, the Intercontinental Cup, and SAFF, that’s three trophies and a major qualification is not bad,” said the 55-year-old English coach to the media.
“Thailand, Bahrain and the UAE will be very difficult, but I think we can cause an upset and that will be the target.”
The Blue Tigers will play in the 2018 SAFF Championship in September and Constantine said the tournament will serve as great preparation ahead of the Asian Cup.
Constantine and his side have already kicked-off their preparations with a training camp being held at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Stadium currently. The team looks to be doing well under the scorching heat in the nation's capital, with some standout players in the likes of Anirudh Thapa involved.
“The preparation for the 2018 SAFF Championship starts tomorrow. We’ve got a group of lads in, who I feel are going to do well. This isn’t just a preparation for 2018 SAFF, but for the Asian Cup as well. Everything we do now with the U-23s to the senior team is for that purpose.”
Published: Wed Aug 01, 2018 04:05 PM IST