Can India rewrite history against Cambodia?

As India gears up for a friendly against Cambodia in Phnom Penh, on Wednesday, one cannot keep their focus off the history book. A trip down memory lane shows India last won an away international friendly way back in June 2006 – a 1-0 defeat of Pakistan.

Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu will be leading the side, his second consecutive match as the captain, after India’s 4-1 mauling of Puerto Rico in last September.   -  K. Murali Kumar

As India gears up for a friendly against Cambodia in Phnom Penh, on Wednesday, one cannot keep their focus off the history book. A trip down memory lane shows India last won an away international friendly way back in June 2006 – a 1-0 defeat of Pakistan. Shanmugam Venkatesh, who is the team manager, captained that Indian side.

For the normal fan, there’s no escaping the harsh reality. However, coach Stephen Constantine ins’t concerned about the past, even though the turf is an artificial playing surface.

“We will be playing on an artificial turf. We would have preferred to play on grass. But we need to adjust. It is a very important match for us ahead of the crucial match against Myanmar in the AFC Cup Qualifiers. I thank AIFF for arranging the same,” averred Constantine.

“There are four-five players who are carrying slight niggles so I haven’t yet decided on the starting XI. Let me see what suits us best,” he said. “The weather conditions in Phnom Penh are quite similar to that in Yangon and it will be a good test for us.”

Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu will be leading the side, his second consecutive match as the captain, after India’s 4-1 mauling of Puerto Rico in last September.

The squad of 24 headed to Phnom Penh after training in Mumbai and though the boys started assembling from March 13 onwards, it was not before March 15 that the entire squad assembled for those training sessions.

“You need international games to develop as a Team and the AIFF has confirmed International friendlies until October which is very positive. The more you play the more Team chemistry you develop and the more the Players gel,” Constantine maintained.

“There is a very healthy competition to get into the starting XI. It is a huge honour to get selected for India and the Players understand that. The philosophy in the team stays that there are no guarantees for anyone and you need to work hard to stay in the squad and work harder to get into the Starting XI.”

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