AFC Asian Cup 2019: UAE will be our toughest challenge, says Gouramangi Singh

Former India captain Gouramangi Singh feels the United Arab Emirates will be India's toughest opponent in the group stage of the AFC Asian Cup 2019.

India's Gouramangi Singh in action against Australia in the AFC Asian Cup 2011.   -  AIFF MEDIA

Former India captain Gouramangi Singh feels India will face a strong challenge from host United Arab Emirates in the group stage in the AFC Asian Cup 2019.

"I would say UAE would be very strong. Their fans would also come in large numbers. Add to that, the team would be preparing to do well on home soil. I feel that will be our toughest match," he said.

India has been grouped with UAE, Bahrain and Thailand in Group A and will  begin is campaign against Thailand on January 6.

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"In the two remaining group matches against Thailand and Bahrain, I feel we stand with a chance and it would all boil down to the performance on the day.

Malaysia got a favourable result against Thailand and Bahrain have been up and down with the national team in recent years so we don’t really know what to expect. But at the same time, India achieved an away draw versus China and there is no reason to stay intimidated by them," he noted.

Gouramangi was the captain when India last played in the AFC Asian Cup in 2011 and scored the side's first goal of the tournament in a group stage match against Bahrain.

"Playing in the AFC Cup in 2011 was the biggest moment in my career especially rubbing shoulders with so many players who had played the FIFA World Cup just a year earlier in 2010," he added.

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