Intercontinental Cup: India looks to gain valuable exposure ahead of Asia Cup

The four-nation Intercontinental Cup begins on Friday at the Mumbai Football Arena.

India coach Stephen Constantine remarked: “We cannot control our opposition. We will try to win each of these games.”   -  AP

India will look to garner wins against lower-ranked teams when it participates in the Intercontinental Cup, a four-nation tourney. The 10-day event will feature Kenya (ranked 111), Chinese Taipei (121) and New Zealand (133), besides India (97), at the Mumbai Football Arena here.

For the host, three matches against squads with different styles will be useful exposure prior to the AFC Asia Cup in 2019. India coach Stephen Constantine remarked: “We cannot control our opposition. We will try to win each of these games.”

Constantine stressed the need for the Indian team to maintain a high-performance level against international sides. He hoped India will keep qualifying for the Asia Cup every year. “Kenya and New Zealand will be giving us different problems and we need them in our development process. Physically we are ready, we need to prepare tactically.”

He pointed out that Kenyan and Kiwi footballers have been playing across Europe.

Absence of key players

Prominent players from participating teams will be absent.

Gary White, the Chinese Taipei coach, mentioned that his key players were not released by their Chinese clubs to travel since the four-nation competition is not on FIFA dates. Kenyan squad assistant coach Francis Kimanzi also pointed out that regulars were busy playing the league back home.

READ: Chinese Taipei coach is all praise for Constantine

India captain Sunil Chhetri looked forward to the challenges ahead for the national side: “The present generation is much more aware, boys have knowledge of what to do and are willing to take care of themselves, which is a big change.”

India will start its campaign against Chinese Taipei on Friday, June 1, followed by matches against Kenya (June 4) and New Zealand (June 7). The final is on June 10 and matches start at 8.00 pm.

The tourney will be aired on the Star Sports network.