The National Team Coach gave a cold shoulder to massively improved creative players who had brilliant domestic seasons like Jayesh Rane and Brandon Fernandes….
Indian coach Stephen Constantine appeared before the reporters in Mumbai after India defeated neighbours Nepal 2-0 in an international friendly.
“These friendly games, they are very very important to us in giving opportunities to players who have not played so much in the national team,” said Constantine to the reporters in the post-match press conference.
“I think we got a good lesson today,” he said before adding, “we dominated,” pointing to the Blues’ outclassing their neighbours in the game.
Khel Now correspondent Sabin Castelino asked the Indian National Team gaffer for the reason why footballers from Aizawl FC, who won the I-League this year, and other players such as Brandon Fernandes were not included in the 35 players at the national camp, to which he replied, “Are you their agent?” Answering him that he is not, Constantine quipped, “Then I am not bound to answer you. All of the best players are in the camp.” This clearly suggests that Jayesh Rane and Brandon Fernandes are not of the top 35 players in the country at the moment.
“We are trying to get better,” said the Englishman. “The big test will be next week and it will be a completely different game with different atmosphere,” the 54-year old warned, pointing to India’s upcoming Asian Cup Qualifier match against Kyrgyzstan next week.
India were scheduled to play against Lebanon but the match was cancelled and Nepal accepted AIFF’s request to play a friendly game instead. Constantine revealed that he is thankful to Nepal for playing the friendly match at such a short notice when he said, “I am going to thank Nepal for coming.”
The Indian head coach was asked about Robin Singh’s dismal performance in the first half, where he missed several chances and was subbed off at the beginning of the second.
“Robin is a fighter. He will give you everything he has for every minute. He has a particular job, a particular trait that he does,” said Constantine before adding, “I was always going to change.”
The Englishman confirmed that midfielder Rowlin Borges is fine after he was forced to come off the pitch in the first half after receiving an injury to his forehead. “It is just a scratch,” he said.
The former Nepal manager praised Eugenson Lyngdoh who replaced Borges. “He’s an engine,” he said, “He sees the game, great passer of the ball, works hard and he knows where to be,” Constantine added.
The India manager also confirmed that Gurpreet Singh Sandhu will start under the Indian bars in their next game against Kyrgyzstan. He also revealed that he wants Sandhu to get to know the Indian back four better than he does now as he does not spend a lot of time with the Indian squad being based in Europe.
Opposing head coach Koji Gyotoku was gracious in defeat and said he would be happy to visit once again of If invited by India.
The Nepal boss said that his team had a lot to improve on especially in finishing their chances. The Japanese also acknowledged that the Blue Tigers were much the fitter team which showed in the second half.