BY ANSELM NORONHA Follow @apnoronha on twitter
Wim Koevermans had announced his squad of 21 players for the twin international friendlies against Philippines and Nepal on the 15th and 19th of this month respectively.
There were 10 changes made from the one that participated in the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship earlier this year in which India finished as runners-up.
Since then due to injury concerns, Arata Izumi had to be replaced by Rocus Lamare while Jeje Lalpekhlua was recently called in place of Dawson Fernandes.
Koevermans stated that he had his set of standbys in the line of duty in case of injuries to any of his players who had been training at the Sesa Football Academy ground in Thivim-Goa until Monday.
"We have a standby list so we can call in other players. Of course, it's not nice when players get injured. Arata was injured before the boys got together and it (injury) happened to Dawson here at the training," the 53-year-old told Goal.
"I always feel for the players, but that's part of a footballer's career. You can get injuries. So we got new players in and we're having good training sessions," he mentioned.
|Injuries are inadvertent|
Salgaocar FC's Nicolau Colaco, who is yet to earn his first international cap, suffered a knock on his right leg in an I-League match against Rangdajied United in Shillong last Tuesday and the India coach stated that the extent of the defender's injury would determine whether he leaves with the squad to Siliguri on Tuesday.
The twin friendlies were to be held at Chennai and due to the chief minister being unavailable for the inauguration of the stadium, the games had to be shifted to Kachenjunga Stadium, Siliguri at the eleventh hour.
"We've sent someone (to have a look at the ground)," he said. "As you know, it's not easy to organise this game because it was supposed to be in Chennai. There were various aspects to see where we could play and there was not much time left. So, okay, we're in Siliguri. That's booked now and it's fine.”
|India friendlies happening
The former Netherlands youth coach was however pleased that the friendlies are taking place despite the uncertaintiesaround it. In the past, India were to play Tajikistan last year before the game was cancelled altogether.
"I want to use them (international friendlies) as much as possible. It's not easy to organise a game in India, unfortunately," he reiterated.
"That's still something that we need to work out, because we cannot keep going and changing our plans just before we think we can play and then all of a sudden something comes up and we have to change it again. So that's still something that I don't like."
|INDIA vs PHILIPPINES HEAD-TO-HEAD|
|AFC Challenge Cup (ACC)||11-Mar-2012||Philippines 2 - India 0|
The last time India faced Philippines was when the Azkals rode on a brace scored by prolific attacker Philip Younghusband to send the Indians packing out from the group stage of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup in 2012 which was held in Nepal.
|INDIA vs NEPAL HEAD-TO-HEAD (Last Two Games)
|SAFF Championship (SAFF)||05-Sep-2013||India 1 - Nepal 2|
|Nehru Cup (INDN)||28-Aug-2012||India 0 - Nepal 0|
The last encounter against Nepal was when the Gorkhalis defeated India 2-1 in the SAFF Championship 2013 fixture played at the Dashrath Rangasala in Kathmandu, Nepal. Last year the two nations played out a goalless draw in the 2012 Nehru Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi, India.
Koevermans observed, "They (Philippines) just played this week (November 9) against UAE (which the hosts won with a 4-0 score-line) in Abu Dhabi. So we will have the latest videos and we will analyze them like we always do with our opposition. Then we have our technical plan ready.
He continued: "We always want to have a result against any team that we play. And any team that we play, we could have beaten them, but football is not that easy. Otherwise everybody would win. So we're always looking to have results and there are now quite a few new boys who probably might have an opportunity to show what they can do. We have two good challenges in front of our home crowd and I expect good crowds in Siliguri. So I'm looking forward to that."
|Can we expect a good turn-out?
Wim Koevermans also termed Nepal as "good opponents" while stating that football is not short of surprises, referring to the hosts' exit in the SAFF Championship 2013 in which India lost to Afghanistan in the final.
"We've seen them in the SAFF (South Asian Football Federation) Cup. They played in front of their home crowd and they did quite good. It was nearly a miracle that they didn't reach the final when they played Afghanistan. They missed the penalty. They should have played the final, but that's the way football goes. Sometimes you think you'll win and you don't win it.
"Same with us (India) in the final against Afghanistan. We should have won it as well, but we didn't. So we're looking forward to the game against Nepal," he concluded.
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