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The goalie believes that there have not been enough international friendlies for the Indian national team...


GOALBY   ANSELM NORONHA     Follow @apnoronha on twitter


Karanjit Singh has stated that current India coach Wim Koevermans hasn't enjoyed the luxury of playing enough international matches. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has been able to arrange for only two friendlies during the Dutchman's tenure since last year.

"There has been quite a bit of improvement under coach Wim Koevermans. We became champions in his first tournament (2012 Nehru Cup). I remember that coach Koevermans had only around 15-to-20 days to prepare the team, but we still played well," the 27-year-old remarked to GOAL.

"We (Team India) need to spend more time together. There have been not been enough friendlies lately for the team to improve further. I think if we spend more time under coach Koevermans, the national team can improve," he added.

Karanjit has been in the scheme of the India senior team since 2011 and made his debut as a substitute in a 0-3 defeat at the hands of United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

Brilliance with Salgaocar saw Karanjit reap into Team India

Looking back through his senior team experience, the Salgaocar keeper feels "grateful" to have the opportunity keep his place in the national team for the last three years.

"I had attended [national team] camps for around three years under [former India coach] Bob Houghton, but I did not get selected that time. After that in the SAFF Cup at Sri Lanka in 2009 in which the India U-23 team participated under Sukhi sir (Sukhwinder Singh) is when I got my opportunity as I was among the four senior players of that squad," he reminisced.

"Then when Salgaocar became champions, I was in [coach] Armando [Colaco] sir's team and my first match for the senior [India] team was at the [2014] World Cup qualifiers against UAE after Subrata Paul was red carded. Since then we have become champions in the SAFF Cup and I have managed to keep my place."

Karanjit Singh went on to attribute this feat to the quality of training that he has received at his clubs. He said, "It's every player's dream to play for their national team and having your dream come true is a big achievement. I am very grateful that I can play for my country for all this time.

"It's because of the training. From the time I was at JCT and since four years that I am at Salgaocar, we have a very good goalkeeping coach in Virender Singh, who was a very good player during his time."

India's last match was against Myanmar on 6 March 2013

India are set to take on Tajikistan in an international friendly on 14 August 2013 as part of their preparations for the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship.

Karanjit threw his weight behind this match, especially as Team India will be assembling after a long time since India were last seen in action at the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers where they were rather poor.

"The I-League is around two months away. Before that we have the match against Tajikistan and in soon we will be competing in the SAFF Cup.

"All the players will be coming together after a long time. So if we do well and win this tournament, it will be a big boost for all of us and the confidence will help us to play well in our clubs also," he concluded.


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