India coach Wim Koevermans stresses the importance of playing international friendlies regularly

The Dutchman preferred to look at the bright side by stating that the defeat shall spur his side on for the SAFF Championship...

Following the 3-0 defeat to Tajikistan on Wednesday, India coach Wim Koevermans hopes that his wards shall come back stronger for the SAFF Championship where they have to defend their title in Nepal next month.

India are deemed favourites for the SAFF Championship and are grouped alongside Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan in group A. However the defeat to Tajikistan will serve as a timely reminder for the Blue Tigers ahead of the tournament.

“(The defeat) would help India in the SAFF Championship. We did our best but Tajikistan were a much superior side. We have learnt a lot from this match. Tajikistan had a much higher tempo,” he mentioned.

While India haven’t played on a regular basis, a fact which has been stressed time and again by former coaches as well, Koevermans once again stated that it is vital to congregate regularly on FIFA matchdays which shall also boost their rankings.

“I reiterate it’s important to play International freindlies. We need to develop,” he added.

Tajikistan were arguably the superior side and didn’t allow India to settle into the game with their quick passing.

“Tajikistan were quick and fast. They made it difficult for our boys. Tajikistan, we knew from the FIFA Rankings were of much higher level.”

“We had our Players for 5 days as it’s the pre-season and they haven’t played for long. We move to the preparatory camp in Bangalore for the SAFF Championship.”

India are expected to kick-start their training in the southern city from August 17.

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