Like many others in the squad, Sumeet Passi will be making his Asian Cup debut in the 2019 edition. The Chandigarh-born – who is currently plying trade for Jamshedpur FC in the Indian Super League is confident ahead of the big test against Thailand on Sunday.
With Tim Cahill in the Jamshedpur squad, playing time might be hard to come by for Passi, but he is happy with his involvement this season and confident of a good show in the Asian Cup.
“I played a lot of games this season and I even scored two goals. So, my confident levels are high now,” Passi told Goal.
The forward believes that it’s his duty to bring in the goals and he has been working towards it, despite garnering a lot of criticism for his inclusion in the team. It has to be noted that Passi is the only Indian striker other than Sunil Chhetri to score more than a goal in the ongoing season.
“The value of a striker is realised only when he scores a goal, without that there’s not much to him. I’m training hard to be productive in the final third, trying to improve my finishing and other aspects. The objective is to score goals in the tournament,” the 23-year-old exclaimed.
The youngster was full of praise for the National Team coach Stephen Constantine and spoke about how he has played a key role in his development.
“Constantine trusts me a lot as I am working very hard. I am always ready to give everything on the field. I will give my 100 per cent for the country and the trust he has put in me.”
“My positioning sense was bad when I entered the national team but after coming here and interacting with the people here, I understood my role. I learnt about positioning, blocking channels and making good runs. Constantine has played a key role in my development.”
A part of the squad that featured in the SAFF Cup earlier in 2018, Passi scored a consolation goal in the finals where India lost 2-1 to Maldives. The forward is of the opinion that the competition provided some of the youngsters much-needed experience.
“I had a great experience playing in the SAFF Cup but unfortunately, we lost the finals. Playing for the National Team is a matter of great pride and I’m happy that I regained some confidence,” Passi said.
The 23-year-old is relishing the experience of having to share the dressing room and training sessions with some senior players and hoping that he gets to learn a lot.
“Sharing the dressing room and practice sessions with the likes of Sandesh Jhingan, Jeje Lalpekhlua and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu helps me build some confidence. They always motivate me. Sunil Chhetri and Jeje advise me on how to play my role and it really helps me,” he explained.
“I just want to give 100 percent in the practice sessions and see how it goes from there,” Passi concluded as he laced his boots, preparing for the biggest test in his career so far.