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Sandesh and Anas have been outstanding for us- Stephen Constantine


The Indian gaffer confirmed the return of the defensive duo against Kenya in the final of the Intercontinental Cup.

Ahead of the Intercontinental Cup final on Sunday, Indian coach Stephen Constantine met with the press in a conference held in Mumbai. The Blue Tigers have had an eventful outing the tournament so far, defeating Chinese Taipei and Kenya on trot before a shock defeat against New Zealand on Thursday.

Speaking of the final, Constantine said, "What we did in the round robin stage is done and dusted but we cannot take anything for granted in the final. Kenya have shown what they are capable of, especially from set-piece positions."

"We totally respect them but at the same time our primary target is to win the tournament,”  Constantine added.

When quizzed about the changes he made in the final match against New Zealand, the India gaffer said, "After the first two matches, we had already qualified for the finals so I wanted to give chances to other players."

"We will have the tried and tested team back for the final and the defensive pairing of Anas and Jhinghan will be back for this match," he added, confirming the return of India's preferred defensive duo of Anas Edathodika and Sandesh Jhingan.

Tthe Indian gaffer was positive when he was asked about his aim regarding the Intercontinental Cup as he claimed that his target is to win the cup and including as many youngsters as can be included in the process.

Speaking about youngsters in his ranks, Constantine added, "Out of the 30 debuts that I have given to players during my stint, out them at least 15 of them have turned out to be decent players and then we have the U-23 side coming up."

"I would say future for Indian football is bright but we must understand who where and where we are," the 55-year-old added.

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Speaking about the allowance given by the government to participate in the Asian Games in Indonesia, Constantine said, " We haven't received anything as of now in writing but if that's the case we are extremely thankful to the government and that will be added exposure to the boys and will the next thing to look forward to".

"The players who can swim will get a chance tomorrow,” he laughed. “Jokes apart, the weather is something which we can't control. I hope the ground condition improves. Whatever it is, we have to play according to the situation.”

"This guy (pointing to Anirudh Thapa) has been outstanding so far. He can play in more than one position. If you talk of Pronay Halder, he can play as a defensive midfielder as well as a defender. The same applies for Dhanapal Ganesh as well who's unfortunately ill. Also, Jerry can play as the left-back as well as upwards,” he pronounced.

"The two central defenders in Sandesh (Jhingan) and Anas (Edathodika) have been outstanding for us and it is something we are happy about. You have to put the right people in the right place and this is what we are trying to do," he added.

"What we focus on is the work rate and the boy sitting next to me (Anirudh Thapa) has been terrific in his work rate. That's the kind of player we need in this Indian National Team,” the coach clarified.

Published: Sat Jun 09, 2018 03:16 PM IST


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