Team India lands in Kochi for Turkmenistan match

"It was quite a tiring journey from Tehran. We look forward to fine tune some aspects in our training session in Kochi," said coach Stephen Constantine.

Indian players Jeje (centre) and Arnab Mondal looking tired after their trip from Tehran.   -  AIFF

The Indian National Team arrived in Kochi on Saturday morning for India’s forthcoming Russia 2018 World Cup Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 match against Turkmenistan slated to be played the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on March 29. The 22-member squad looked visibly tired after their overnight flight from Tehran via Dubai and settled down in their room after a quick breakfast.

The squad was boosted by the presence of ace striker Sunil Chhetri, who joined the camp in the morning itself. Chhetri had missed the match against Iran due to a groin injury. Midfielder Md. Rafique is also joining the squad.

“It was quite a tiring journey from Tehran. We look forward to fine tune some aspects in our training session in Kochi,” said coach Stephen Constantine.

The team had left its hotel at 6pm in the evening in Tehran on Friday (March 25) and reached Kochi at 10am on Saturday morning.

“We need to assess some players over the status of their injuries which they suffered in the last match,” Constantine informed. “The last time we played in Kerala for the SAFF Suzuki Cup, the support from the Kerala Football Association was wonderful. We look forward for the same enthusiasm,” he added.

Turkmenistan is currently ranked 113 in the FIFA Rankings (15th in Asia) in comparison to India’s current ranking of 160.

“Turkmenistan comes into the game fresh as it did not have play any match on the 24th. It is a very good side with some quality players who add to their strength. They are presently on 10 points in Group D and there’s a reason why they are ranked 113,” Constantine stated.

The Coach also made a special mention of Kerala and its fans. “The support for the SAFF Cup was amazing. We just could not have done without their support. Some 45000 sang and chanted for us nonstop and without them we could not have won it in Trivandrum,” Constantine maintained, recollecting the triumph of the SAFF Suzuki Cup.

“During my stint in India as a coach I have worked with some exceptional talents from Kerala. The talent and passion for the sport in the state has no bounds.”

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