Constantine: We respect Maldives, but fear no one

India, which has won each of its SAFF Cup fixtures en route to the final, will face Maldives in Saturday's final.

Stephen Constantine (left) and Subasish Bose talk to the media ahead of the final against Maldives on Saturday.   -  the-aiff.com

A day before India takes on Maldives in the final of the SAFF Suzuki Cup, coach Stephen Constantine declared, at the pre-match press conference on Friday, that though it respects Maldives, India fears 'no one'.

The match is scheduled to kick off at 6.30pm IST and will be telecast live on DSport.

“Even though we have won against them in the group stage, we can’t afford to disrespect them especially after their performance against Nepal. They scored on counter attacks and the last 2 goals within 15 minutes sealed the fate of the match,” he uttered.

“We have to keep in mind that three of their main players didn’t play against us. They have our full respect but we fear no one,” he reiterated.

India has won so far seven SAFF Championship titles while it has qualified for the final in 10 of the 11 editions of the tournament.

Read: 'We have come with a strong intent to win the tournament'

“It's a pleasure for us to be here. We had a good game in the semi-finals two days ago and hence, we are here. Now, everyone is fit and raring to give it a shot tomorrow,” the Coach added.

Skipper Subhasish Bose, who also attended the press conference, expressed that that team is all geared up to give its best on the pitch to retain the trophy.

“We will try our best to retain the trophy. We have been preparing well for the last six and half weeks and now we are in the final. We need to hold our nerves and give our best so that we can get back home with the trophy.”

India has faced Maldives thrice before in the SAFF Championship final (1997, 2008 and 2009) and won twice, but Constantine brushed aside the stat and said that it’ll be a different ball game tomorrow.

“Records don't speak much because it's not going to be the same team. Everyone will work hard and churn out the positive result. Hopefully, we can continue the good work and accomplish the target.”

Meanwhile, Lallianzuala Chhhangte was given the marching orders in the semifinal against Pakistan and coach felt 'he will be missed'.

“He (Chhangte) is an important player for us. In England, we call these 'handbags' (smiles).”

There has been a sizeable section of Indian fans who have turned up to cheer for India and the skipper thanked them for all their support.

“We would like to thank the Indian supporters in Bangladesh who have flocked down to the stadium in numbers to cheer for us. You have been simply outstanding and we would require it tomorrow as well. On the behalf of the team, I would like to request everyone to come down to the Bangabandhu Stadium tomorrow so that we can win the trophy together.”