The 27-year-old player is charged at the prospect of playing against Pakistan in India's opener of the South Asian tournament on Sunday...Mehtab Hossain believes that the India can successfully defend their SAFF Championship title for the second successive time.
"If we can beat Cameroon (B team) to retain the Nehru Cup for the third successive time, there’s no reason why we can’t win the 2013 SAFF Championship," he was quoted in an interview with the AIFF Media.
The East Bengal player was part of the triumphant SAFF Championship squad which won in Pakistan in 2005. Hossain now has the opportunity to face India's North-Western neighbours on Sunday.
"It’s an Indo-Pak clash and it says all. Both countries would be desperate to win and make a winning start to the championship. In such a match, you ought to give your 300 percent on the ground. Unless you give that extra bit you won’t be successful," he stressed.
"We’ve heard Pakistan have come with five foreign-based players. They are a very strong unit."
Following India's domination at the Nehru Cup in 2012, the Blue Tigers haven't managed to deliver as expected and in their last assignment have failed to qualify for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup.
"There have been matches where we have been the better team yet have ended up on the losing side," Hossain insisted. "We need to get rid of those silly mistakes, that split second decisions which are proving a deterrent. That’s the area where we need to improve.
"When a team loses, the easiest thing is to blame the coach. But one fails to remember that once the match starts, it’s the responsibility of the players to implement what the coach has told them. We need to do it collectively for our team and country," he concluded.
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