Constantine: India’s target is to register upsets
New Delhi: Football in India has been on the rise with the Blue Tigers racking up back-to-back successes in recent years, and head coach Stephen Constantine believes his charges can cause a major upset in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
India are grouped alongside hosts UAE in Group A, as well as Thailand and Bahrain.
In March 2015, India slipped to their lowest FIFA Ranking of 173 but have grown from strength to strength since, claiming the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship in 2015, the 2017 Tri-Nations Series, and most recently in June, where they beat Kenya 2-0 to clinch the 2018 Intercontinental Cup.
India are now ranked 97.
“If you look at the current FIFA Rankings, we’ve gone from 173 to 97, we qualified for the AFC Asian Cup, we won the Tri-Nations trophy, the Intercontinental Cup, and SAFF, that’s three trophies and a major qualification is not bad,” said the 55-year-old English coach to the media.
“Thailand, Bahrain and the UAE will be very difficult but I think we can cause an upset, and that will be the target.”
The Blue Tigers will play in the 2018 SAFF Championship in September, and Constantine said the tournament will serve as great preparation ahead of the AFC Asian Cup.
“The preparation for the 2018 SAFF Championship starts tomorrow. We’ve got a group of lads in, who I feel are going to do well.
“This isn’t just a preparation for 2018 SAFF but for the AFC Asian Cup as well. Everything we do now with the U-23 to the senior team is for that purpose.”
Photos: All India Football Federation