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The Maldives midfielder is optimistic of his team's chances when they face India in the second semi-final on Monday...


GOALBY   AYUSH SRIVASTAVA     Follow @ayush_sri on twitter


While Ali Ashfaq takes away most of the headlines for his exploits with the Maldives national side, Mohamed Arif is as important to the squad, being the engine in the central midfield, responsible for breaking up play and setting the team on its way in attack.

Speaking to the media on Sunday, the Maldives midfielder was hopeful of his side’s chances to win against India. He commented, “I hope we will win, God willing. We are in full condition (mentally and physically) to win the match.”


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In the last two SAFF Championships, India has got the better of the Red Snappers in the knockout stages. When quizzed if this was a revenge match, Arif rubbished such claims and opined, “This is not a revenge for us. We want to play the final and win the competition.”

There has been a lot written about how this Blue Tigers side is the weakest in recent times. The fact that Sunil Chhetri will be missing from the line-up due to suspension, makes it an even more mediocre side on paper.

The Maldives midfielder though, still rates India very highly, and felt it would be wrong to focus on just one player. He stated, “No we don’t think like that (Of India being a weak side). We will try our best to win the game, and India is a strong team.”

“We don’t think of other team’s players. We only focus on our players and the match,” he added, when asked about the missing Indian skipper.

Istvan Urbanyi, the coach of Maldives, has often spoken about how much the country hopes to win the title in Nepal, to add to the one they won on home soil in 2008. Just like Mauro Camonaresi celebrated Italy's truimph at the 2006 World Cup by cutting his cherished mane of hair, Arif announced he would follow suit. He quipped, “If we win the trophy I will cut my hair on the ground!”

 

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