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New Delhi: As India gears up to host the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 which kicks off on Friday, the senior national team have been pushed out of the limelight.

Head coach Stephen Constantine men, however, are also preparing for a very important assignment - the crucial AFC Asian Cup 2019 Qualifier against Macau on October 11

India, unbeaten in the three matches in the Qualifiers, need a victory against Macau in their Group A tie to seal a berth in the Asian Cup UAE 2019 which Constantine feels will be “historic.”

“The game against Macau in Bengaluru is one of the most important games in our history for a long time. If we are able to win it and qualify for the Asian Cup, I think it will be an achievement,” Constantine said in Mumbai.

“The key behind the success is the work,” Constantine stated. “The support from the Mr. Praful Patel and Mr. Kushal Das (All India Football Federation President and General Secretary respectively) has been exceptional. My purpose has always been to build a team for the future. That’s how I think and that’s what I do as I think that’s the manner we can sustain the momentum,” the coach maintained

“We have quite a strong core at the moment. If someone goes out because of an injury, the other one can come in and there isn’t much loss in quality,” Constantine stressed, only to add: “But it takes time.

“We are focused on the match in Bengaluru. It’s in our hands, or should I say our feet, and we are aware of the type of football which Macau will try to play. As they did at home, they may try to park the bus and we need to be patient, continue doing the hard work and find a way to unlock them.”


Sunil Chhetri-powered India beat Macau 2-0 in the corresponding Asian Cup 2019 qualifying fixture on Sept 5.

India are top of Group A with nine points from the three matches played.

“The boys know the importance of the game. They stay aware of what it means for them and Indian football overall."

Constantine also wished the Indian U-17 national team luck for the forthcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.

“My best wishes to the coach and players. We are in a tough group and we wish them good luck,” he said.

“Technically and tactically there isn’t going to be much of a difference between the teams which means that any team can beat anyone. At this level, kids will play brilliantly one day but the next day they may not be that much impressive. I don’t want to go into predictions but I want India to do well and qualify from the group,” he said.

Source: All India Football Federation