BY ANSELM NORONHA Follow @apnoronha on twitter
The South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship 2013 draw was held at Nepal on Tuesday in which holders, India, have been seeded in Group A alongside Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
While Group B consists of Afghanistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Bhutan, Clifford Rayes Miranda thinks that it wouldn't made any difference so as to which group India would have been in.
"Nothing like it's a 'group of death' for us (India). Yes, it's a difficult group because the other three teams are kind of better than us. If we had to be in the other group then also we still would have had to win. So it doesn't make a difference, as long as we play well and we keep winning," he told GOAL.
The Men in Blue have an international friendly scheduled against Tajiskistan on 14 August as part of the team's preparations for the SAFF tournament which kicks off on 1 September.
"Maybe he (Wim Koevermans) added two or three players [among the 30 probables for the India camp], but the core (of the team) remains the same and there won't be a problem to gel together," feels Miranda.
The 31-year-old however feels that the national team has not done justice to their coach Wim Koevermans' hard work, as they failed to qualify for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup after losing 0-1 to hosts Myanmar in their final group game when they needed only a draw.
"Of course, the Myanmar defeat was a big disappointment. We prepared well, but I always say that Koevermans worked very hard for us, more than we worked hard and we couldn't win the match. It (the match) was in our grasp, but we couldn't win it," he said.
Repay Koevermans | India need to put up a show in Nepal
"In a way I always say that we let Wim down [in Myanmar] and we let ourselves down as well, which is why we will have to work doubly hard this time," the Dempo man urged his India team-mates' to put on a spectacular performance next month in Nepal.
Clifford Miranda entered the national team scenario under Syed Nayeemuddin and thereon played under British coach Bob Houghton, who had handed him the number 10 jersey during the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, besides working under Armando Colaco and Savio Medeira over the years.
"Every coach comes with his own philosophy and way of thinking. Wim has his own way. He believes in possession play, which is very nice. So did all the other coaches. We respect everyone as we have benefitted some way or the other [from them]," he said.
Talking about the best quality of current India coach, Miranda singled out, "He (Koevermans) is very patient. It doesn't mean that other coaches weren't patient, but you know, he's very mild in his approach. He gives you time and his football essentially is to play on the ground."
On a concluding note, when asked if he feels there is a worthy competitor for his place on the left wing, Miranda confessed, "I don't know. I will have to go and check out what the team is like at the camp. There is no guaranteed place for any player, so I have to fight for my place too."
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