Bheke: Need to make most of home games in World Cup qualifiers

Rahul Bheke, who made his India debut at the age of 28, believes Igor Stimac's team has a great chance of going to the next round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Rahul Bheke has played four times for the national team.   -  Twitter @IndianFootball

Six players made their debut for the Indian senior national team under coach Igor Stimac at the King's Cup 2019, and only one out of them – defender Rahul Bheke – played every minute of the two matches in Thailand.

The versatile defender, who took his Blue Tigers bow at the age of 28, termed his debut as "extra sweet."

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"It was an incredible feeling," he said. "All the hard work over these years has finally paid off. I have earned my first India cap after putting in continuous work and performing consistently for years. The path has not been easy by any means and it makes the moment extra special."

'WANT TO KEEP MOVING FORWARD'


After his performance in Thailand, Bheke was a key figure in the Blue Tigers' next assignment as well at the Intercontinental Cup in Ahmedabad, excelling in the team's memorable clash against Syria.

"It's a completely new set-up in the national team. It's a great feeling being a part of it. It's different from what we are used to at club level and I just want to keep learning and moving forward,” he stated.

The defender is now part of the preparatory camp currently underway in Goa, as Stimac's men prepare for the first two FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers against Oman at home on September 5 in Guwahati, followed by a challenging away trip to Asian champion Qatar on September 10.

However, Bheke referred to India’s chances as "bright.”

“Preparations are on in full swing. We are up for the challenge. We have a bright chance of going to the next round. We have to get a positive result against Oman, and make the most of our home games."

"I am hoping for a big response from the fans in Guwahati. It's a great place to start our campaign and given the passion for football in Assam and the entire North-east, I am confident that many people will come out and support us," he maintained.

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