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Intercontinental Cup

Intercontinental Cup 2018: Stephen Constantine believes Indian players have quality to play for foreign clubs

14:31 EAT 09/06/2018
Stephen Constantine India Macau 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers
The British gaffer has said that the target is to lift silverware on Sunday...

Indian football will take on Kenya in the final of the 2018 Intercontinental Cup at the Mumbai Football Arena on Sunday. 

They will face the Harambee Stars for the second time in the tournament. They had thrashed Kenya 3-0 in the group stage but head coach Stephen Constantine does not believe that his side will have a psychological advantage.

"What we did in the group stage is done and dusted. We move on to the next game. We cannot take anything for granted and we will not do so. Kenya showed yesterday that they are dangerous from set-pieces. We respect them but we will try to restrict them and win the match," said the gaffer. 

India lost to New Zeland in their third match but Constantine is not too worried about that result. 

"We had qualified after the first two games. It was important for us to give the other players a chance to play. When you make seven changes you are not going to play in the same system and cohesive way that we did in the other two games. We will be at full strength for this game and we will be playing with two central defenders who have been outstanding for us, Sandesh (Jhingan) and Anas (Edathodika).

"It is not that shorter players do not have a place in this side. They all have a place. But you have to put the right people in the right positions and I try to do so," stated the British tactician. 

The former Millwall manager is known to promote young talents and he once again reiterated his belief in youth. Constantine went a step ahead and said that he believes that some of the Indian players have it in them what it takes to play for foreign clubs. 

"The ultimate target is to win the cup. The second target was to reach the final and in the process include as many young players as possible. It has been my way of working in India and everywhere I have been. I believe in youth. I believe in young players especially if they are good enough and not old enough.

"We have given more than 30 international debuts in the past couple of years and let's say 15 of those have proved to be more than decent players. The U-23 side is up and coming and 10 or 11 of them are in this squad as well. So, I think the future for Indian national team is bright," said the head coach. 

He added," But we must understand who we are and where we are. You saw the game against New Zealand. That was their best team available. I don't say that it was their best team as we have selected our best players available. You must have noticed that the New Zealand side were comfortable on the ball because that's what they have been taught. This is where we need to improve in India.

"It is important what we coach and teach and more important is who is monitoring them. Today we don't have any player born and brought up in India playing outside India. It is something that irks me. I believe strongly that there are players in India who can go outside and play. I am not saying that they can play in La Liga or EPL. But we have players who can go out and play. I would like to see that happen someday."

Constantine also revealed that the next preparatory camp might take place sometime in the next month if the U-23 team gets a green signal to participate in the Asian Games. 

"Hopefully, the Olympic Committee and the Government will decide to send the team to Asian Games. They have not officially informed us. We have not received anything in writing. That has to be first. If it happens then I am thankful because I think it is a great move as it will give our boys added exposure. So that might be our next stage of preparations sometime in the next month," signed off the coach.