Subhash Bhowmick’s East Bengal defeated then AFC Champions League runners-up and the best club in Thailand, Bec Tero Sasana, 3-1 to lift the ASEAN Club Championship 16 years back. Now, the Indian football team registered a historic 4-1 win over Thailand in their opening match of the AFC Asian Cup 2019.
Speaking about India’s thumping result on Sunday, Subhash Bhowmick said, “I am feeling proud. I am on top of the world. These boys have made me proud. I am feeling proud that I have played football in this country. They have silenced those who were saying that they might draw and all. They showed their character today.
"The credit goes to Stephen Constantine. But I strongly also believe that Sunil Chhetri is the man that changed this team with his leadership skills. Whether he is captain or not, he is leading from the front. Kudos to the entire team for creating history. People cannot look down on Indian football anymore. These boys have already won my heart. I am grateful to these guys.
“Tactically India is not far behind. Technically maybe, yes. The team is focussed. Thailand is known for their pace and passing speed. But India did not allow them to do that. This team has matured tactically.”
The veteran Indian coach credited Stephen Constantine for fielding youngster Ashique Kuruniyan in a game of epic proportions. He said, “Hats off to Stephen for fielding Ashique. He was reminding me of Drogba. He was charging for every ball and kept tremendous pressure upfront. This boy is brilliant.”
Bhowmick did not pay much heed to the goal conceded by India. “Mistakes do happen. But the set-piece was tremendous. The captain (Teerasil Dangda), how he changed his position to escape his marker was very good,” said the former East Bengal technical director.
On chances against hosts UAE, Bhowmick opined, “Anything can happen against UAE. The way they played today and the with the character that they portrayed, they can do anything.”