India’s AFC Asian Cup Qualifier draw ‘favourable on paper’, says Constantine

Stephen Constantine, India's head coach, has admitted to the AFC Asian Cup Qualifier UAE 2019 draw being "favourable on paper" for the national side, but added that "there are no easy games for us".


Stephen Constantine was specific that promising new players could feature in the national camp.   -  AIFF

India’s head coach Stephen Constantine has termed the national team’s draw for the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers UAE 2019 as "favourable on paper" even as the assessment was tempered by the knowledge that "there are no easy games for us". India has been drawn alongside Myanmar, Kyrgyz Republic and Macau in Group A of the qualifiers.

“On paper it looks favourable. It does give us the hope that we have a legitimate chance to qualify from the group,” he told AIFF. “Myanmar has made it to the final of the Suzuki Cup and on the back of qualifying on merit to the FIFA U-20 World Cup under their German Coach, they are a very difficult team to play at home,” he said.

Constantine revealed the team will assemble with him in March to prepare for the tourney. “The plan is to assemble on the weekend of March 11/12 (2017) as the players would start to assemble after their respective Hero I-League games. But there would be boys who would be involved in the AFC Cup and we will only have them available some days later,” Constantine said.

'Not easy'

Constantine was inclined towards a friendly ahead of the tournament. “Given that we are playing an away game first, we want to play an international friendly on our way to Myanmar. It would benefit us to have valuable match practice as the intensity of international football is entirely of a different level than domestic football. Let me reiterate, Myanmar won’t ever be an easy opposition away or even at home,” he said.

The camp held for this would be “open to each and every Indian player who qualifies to play for India”, Constantine specified.

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