All three visiting coaches were present in the press conference held in Mumbai earlier on Thursday.
All the national teams have almost arrived and are set to start their campaigns at the Mumbai Football Arena in the next two days in the Intercontinental Cup. While Chinese Taipei face India in the opening game of the tournament on Friday, Kenya will rumble with New Zealand on Saturday. So, all the teams’ head coaches met with the press for the final talk before the action starts.
Kenya replaced South Africa who pulled out from the tournament earlier. However, controversy followed the Harambee Stars as their head coach Sebastian Migne refused to travel with the team to India after several senior players were recalled by their respective clubs. In the press conference earlier on Thursday, the Kenyan assistant coach revealed the certainty of the team reaching India by Friday morning.
Francis Kimanzi will be in-charge of the Kenyan squad in the Intercontinental Cup
“Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone for all the job that has been done and to get us to India,” said Kenyan assistant coach Francis Kimanzi.
“I feel this is a very important challenge for a lot of my Kenyan boys. We had some challenges while coming here, but I’m certain the team will reach by tomorrow morning. We want to participate very ably,” he asserted.
“We have a very young side. We were forced to pick them as the Kenyan league is still on. If an opportunity is provided, I’m sure that these young players can rise to the occasion,” Kimanzi added.
New Zealand have named a young and inexperienced squad for the Intercontinental Cup in India. Some of the reports are claiming it to be an ‘experimental’ side, on which New Zealand head coach Fritz Schmid said, “If I had to say, I wouldn’t call it an experimental side. I will call it a side with promising youth players.”
“There are certain reasons for having these players here. But, most of all the reason is that they have shown potential and deserve a chance. I think it’s an important opportunity for them and I think if they perform, they will be far from an experiment,” he added.
New Zealand’s Fritz Schmid also appeared in the press conference
Schmid was asked if the change in atmosphere would be a major obstacle for the All Whites when he answered, “The best possible I could say is one or two members, fortunately, of the staff have been needing some medications and I hope them to recover very quickly. Look, we discussed this during our first days here, if you are to win progress from this region, then very certainly these are the conditions that you are to face. So, its good to be in such a demanding environment.”
Chinese Taipei have been preparing for the Asian games and have named a squad that features most of the players from their U-19 and U-20 teams. It has been evident from their selection that the primary focus are the Asian Games. Head coach Gary White though has assured that his team won’t be there just to make up the numbers, as the coach who beat this Indian team with Guam prepares to repeat the feat.
The conference was also attebded by Chinese Taipei Coach Gary White
“I want to thank everybody associated with the Indian FA. We have been very well hospitalised here. It’s always a pleasure to come to India,” said White.
“It’s also an opportunity for us to prepare for Asian games. Unfortunately for us, it is very difficult to bring our first team here since they are playing in China and this tournament is not included in FIFA dates. But, the great thing I think is that we give young players a great opportunity to play at the highest level.”
To conclude White explained the importance this tournament holds for some of the youngsters who are going to play for their nation for the first time. He said, “Yes, our team is young, but an exciting one. For my players, it’s a great opportunity. 10 of our players are U-23 players and it’s good for our future.”
“They all will be really tested and are excited. It’s a motivating factor that usually the senior players would not have. For senior players, it’s just another game, for debutants, the first few games are always special,” he finished off.