AFC Asian Cup: Stephen Constantine - Lack of games not due to a lack of trying

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AIFF Media
India head coach Stephen Constantine shed light on AIFF's efforts to arrange more friendlies before the Asian Cup...

Indian national team head coach Stephen Constantine revealed that the lack of preparatory fixtures ahead of the upcoming AFC Asian Cup is not due to a lack of effort from the side of the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

The Blue Tigers have played just two matches so far - against China and Jordan - and are set to play one more against Oman before the end of the year.

"We leave tomorrow (Thursday) and we have two weeks in Abu Dhabi to acclimatise where we play our first two games. So the preparation is certainly okay although we could have used a few more games. That, however, isn’t due to a lack of trying. We sent letters to 25-30 FAs to arrange friendlies. We wanted to face the teams participating in the Asian Cup. I think we have tried to prepare as best we can," the head coach, who was present at the launch of the team's new kit, said.

China India Football friendly

"We generally send a letter to the FA requesting interest in friendly games. Also, I sometimes directly contact coaches of other teams to see if they are interested. Just recently, Carlos Queiroz called me up to see if I would be interested in playing a match on the 27th. However, since we had a match coming up, we had to say no to that.

"We wanted to play big teams, strong teams like China, Jordan and Oman. These are the teams we wanted to play. So we write a letter to the respective FA and get a reply. That is how the correspondence works. Quite a lot of to and go before it eventually gets signed off."

Constantine was quizzed about his team selection but he was not ready to discuss players who were not selected. "(I am) only interested in speaking about the players in the squad."

India will face Thailand in their first match of the Asian Cup at the Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi on January 6, 2018.

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