India notched a 4-1 win over Thailand in their Group A opener of the 2019 Asian Cup on Sunday evening at the Al Nahyan Stadium, Abu Dhabi.
Coach Stephen Constantine had stated during his pre-match briefing that he would continue to rotate captaincy, a policy which he has followed in India since 2015.
"I have been rotating the captaincy for four years. It is not something that I just started or we qualified and I change it. We have had four, five captains or maybe six or seven,” he mentioned.
Interestingly, it was Gurpreet Singh Sandhu who came alongside Constantine for the press conference ahead of their Thailand tie and it was revealed that the tall custodian would be handed the captain’s armband.
Constantine was questioned if Sunil Chhetri not been given a leadership role brought the best out of him. The English coach answered in the negative and said, “There is no controversy about rotating captains. I have done it for four bloody years. I don't think (removing captaincy) brought out the best in Chhetri. Chhetri gives everything every time he plays whether he is the captain or not.”
Next up for India are hosts UAE who managed to eke out a draw against Bahrain. Constantine pointed that the Alberto Zaccheroni’s side will be a muc different outfit than the Thailand team.
“The whole Asian Cup excites me. We played 18 teams, blood sweat and tears, three qualifiers, we got here, we are a very young team and we are excited about playing all the three teams. UAE will be a different game, they are the home nation. They are a very good side but they are just another team standing in our way,” said the experienced coach in the aftermath of their 4-1 win.