The Bengaluru FC player stated that it is a dream to play for India.
The Indian Super League has come to a halt for the next nine days and it is time for some international football action. India are set to play Jordan in the first-ever international friendly between the two countries. The two sides are to meet each other on Saturday in Amman. Stephen Constantine has called the 30 probables for the game to a national camp in New Delhi.
Bengaluru FC’s young full-back, Nishu Kumar met with the media for a chat on the sidelines of the camp. Kumar is no alien to the AFC circuit and has represented Bengaluru in continental competition for the past few seasons. However, he thinks the AFC Asian Cup 2019 will be a different challenge. “There are challenges, of course. I was representing Bengaluru in the AFC Cup and now the coach has again called me. I’ll give my best and I am ready for it.”
Indian national team skipper Sunil Chhetri will miss the game because of an injury. So, a question about the fitness level of the players was always on the cards. But, Nishu is confident that the players will be ready for the much-anticipated game. “As the Indian Super League is already going on, the level of fitness is good and we have 3-4 more days for the game. We believe we will be fit and well-prepared.”
The game against Jordan is a tough one meant to prepare the side for the extravaganza in the UAE next year. The Jordanians have been in a good form of late and lost in a close encounter against World Cup runners-up Croatia not long ago.
Asked whether selection for the tournament is on the minds of the players while performing in the league Kumar responded by saying, “Yes, of course. It is a dream of everyone to represent the national team and since the national team coach comes to watch the Indian Super League games, we try to give the games our all. We all want to get into the national camps.”
Bengaluru and the Indian national team play a different brand of football and Nishu discussed the difficulties one faces in adapting to the coaches’ different ideologies. “Both the coaches expect us to play differently. They make us play different styles of football. One is Spanish, other is English. So, we have to adapt to their styles and try to fit in their plans.”
With youngsters like Anirudh Thapa, Pronay Halder and Subhasish Bose performing well, the onus is on the senior players to keep their place in the starting lineup. “The environment around the team is good. The senior, experienced players will feel the pressure because of the new players coming in. We all will compete with each other.”
Even with the skipper missing, Kumar feels that India still have the firepower in their arsenal to defeat Jordan. He said, “There should not be a huge effect from his absence. We have good players. Obviously, a player like him will be missed, but we have other good strikers as well.”