Tri-series: India to take on St. Kitts

“We have to be at our very best,” says India coach Stephen Constantine.

The Indian team trains at the Mumbai Football Arena. Photo: AIFF

India will look to test its bench strength when it takes on St. Kitts at the Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday. The Caribbean side, ranked 125, displayed flair in its game against Mauritius but its brittle defence will likely be tested more by the home team.

Stephen Constantine, the India coach, did not comment on the playing combination of the team for the contest. Constantine had replaced five first-team players in the first tie against an attack-minded Mauritius side. The substitutes had done their bit and the intensity on the pitch improved considerably as the new players tried to display their worth.

St. Kitts deserves respect, the Indian coach asserted, citing the team’s fightback against Mauritius that helped it secure a draw. “They have the potential. Coming back from a one-goal deficit is not very easy but they did it. We have to be at our very best.”

‘Good shape’

India had also clawed back from a goal down to defeat a lower-ranked Mauritius. “We’re in a good shape and looking to finish off the job in a positive note,” he said. Central defender Sandesh Jhingan, relishing responsibility in a friendly, praised his team-mates. “Conceding (goals) is a part of football but we knew we could come back strongly and we eventually got the three points.”

St. Kitts coach Jacques Passy expected his side to rise to the occasion. “India has improved dramatically the last two years. The two strikers are very sharp and though possession is not India’s forte, they have the right philosophy simply because in this era, possession is irrelevant, India’s style is.”

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