India gearing up for Laos challenge

Indian National football team coach Stephen Constantine feels his side has its task cut out when it meets Laos in the two-leg qualifying play-off of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

Stephen Constantine said the camp will also include players from Bengaluru FC and Mohun Bagan, who will be joining the current probables after the completion of their respective AFC Cup assignments.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Indian National football team coach Stephen Constantine feels his side has its task cut out when it meets Laos in the two-leg qualifying play-off of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

India, currently ranked 162 in the FIFA rankings, is in a better position than its opponent, which is ranked 176 in the world. Constantine is not ready to accept this as a precondition to rate his side as the favourite ahead of the match. “The rankings do not count much in football. What kind of ranking would you have given to Leicester City before the start of the English Premier League? It is going to be a tough match against Laos,” Constantine said, after the Indian probables completed the fourth day of their conditioning camp here at the Indira Gandhi Stadium’s practice facility, on Monday.

Constantine, who chose the venue to have his boys properly acclimatised to the conditions, sounded satisfied with the training facilities.

The National team, which has not gained much success in the recent times, will start its campaign in the continental competition playing Laos first at the latter’s home on June 2.

With a home-and-away format, India will have its home match here, at the Indira Gandhi Stadium, on June 7. A win in the play-offs will put India in the final qualifiers for the Asian Cup.

Constantine said the camp will also include players from Bengaluru FC and Mohun Bagan, who will be joining the current probables after the completion of their respective AFC Cup assignments.

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