The home team face India tomorrow in the joint-qualifier match for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup.
Afghanistan and India will battle it out to get three crucial points in their next qualifying match tomorrow in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, as both teams look to increase their chances of qualifying. Ahead of the game, Afghanistan head coach Anoush Dastgir spoke to reporters on his team’s chances in the game.
India will be the more desperate of the two as they have only two points to show for their efforts in the three games played so far, but one of them came against table-toppers Qatar.
However, Afghanistan will be buoyant after their win against Bangladesh, which will give them some hope despite getting thumped by both Oman and Qatar.
The coach started by saying, “The players are focused in training. We know we are up against a tough opponent. They played really well to draw with Qatar and against Oman, they lost, but led 1-0 at half-time. So, we know that they are a good team.”
The coach expressed his happiness despite playing away from home saying, “We are happy to be playing here in Tajikistan. It is not home, but we have a good record in Tajikistan. We drew against Tajikistan here and defeated Nepal a few years back.”
Afghanistan captain Farshad Noor has been the team’s best player so far and scored the goal that won them the three points against Bangladesh. He said, “The team has changed a lot now. The players have changed from few years back. The coach has changed. We have a stronger team now and have a clear system of how we want to play. We will see tomorrow as to who wins. We believe we can do well.”
The PSV academy graduate had the chance to play for the Netherlands national side but he got injured and couldn’t get his opportunity. He has since moved on and seems content at his choice of nationality claiming, “Yes, I had the chance to play for the Dutch national team, but couldn’t. I got injured again and again and at one point you ask yourself, ‘When am I going to play?”
He further added, “Then I met Anoush (Dastgir) and we had a good chat. He convinced me to play for Afghanistan and now I’m very happy to have made this move. As captain of my country, it is an honour. I’m very happy with it.”
The captain called upon the support of the Afghan people for the game. He said, “We want the people to support us. When they support us in the stadiums, it gives you more energy and we need this tomorrow.”
Afghanistan play India tomorrow at the Pamir Stadium in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.