‘I’m ready to offer Chhetri Myanmar passport’

Referring to Chhetri’s goal, which made the difference between the two teams in their first leg 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers, Myanmar coach Gerd Zaise described Chhetri as the “most dangerous player”.

“The Indian captain is a cool customer and he’s the most dangerous player. We must take care of the counter attacks and the defence line must be cautious when it involves him,” Zaise stated.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Myanmar coach Gerd Zaise is so impressed with Sunil Chhetri that he is willing to offer the Indian football team skipper his country’s passport.

Referring to Chhetri’s goal, which made the difference between the two teams in their first leg 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers, the German described Chhetri as the “most dangerous player”.

Preview: Confident India takes on Myanmar

“The Indian captain is a cool customer and he’s the most dangerous player. We must take care of the counter attacks and the defence line must be cautious when it involves him,” Zaise stated.

“I am ready to give him a Myanmar Passport,” he jokes and reiterated his admiration when he met Chhetri after the press conference.

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"This match is the first step to Asian Cup’s preparation which is precisely 14 months away. The match allows us the opportunity to test the depth of our squad. Obviously, we are looking forward to.

“Myanmar are a very disciplined side. The coach is there for eight long years and he follows a similar system. We had a torrid time in Myanmar.

“The work rate was phenomenal. We have continued our hard work for last twoi years and these are the results. Everyone knows that we are a hard-working unit and we will continue to do so.”

Referring Sunil Chhetri’s pivotal goal in the added time, coach recollected: “It was a five-man move and Sunil was clinical to finish off the job. In Europe, the goals against Myanmar and the Kyrgyz Republic could have been talking points. On and off the pitch, we are a great team.”

Having assured qualification, India will fancy its chances in the return leg here on Tuesday.

“India are really good at defending and we have to absolutely on our toes to penetrate them. I would like to congratulate them on their success but tomorrow we have to take our chances to go back with a positive result,” Zaise stated.

“We have come to Goa to play good football and take some points. Our first target is to not lose. We were the better side in the first leg but ended up on the losing side.

“We need to score. Sometimes, you will get only one chance in the entire match and you need to utilise that.”

Captain Yan Aung Kyaw, nevertheless, dismissed talks of any “extra pressure on his side”.

“After 15 years we stand with a realistic chance to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup. We come out every day to get a win. Tomorrow is no different and we need nothing less than a win. There’s no other alternative.”

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