Intercontinental Cup good platform for us ahead of AFC Asian Cup, says Halicharan

“Obviously, we will be playing for a win against New Zealand, but it will not be easy. It will be remarkable if we win all of our three matches, going ahead into the finals of the Cup and keep the winning momentum alive till the finals,” Narzary said.

Halicharan Narzary said that a positive result against New Zealand on Thursday will matter as it will help the home reach the final with the momentum firmly on its side. (File Photo)   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

Indian football team’s young winger Halicharan Narzary on Wednesday said that the ongoing Intercontinental Cup is a good testing ground for the home team ahead of 2019’s AFC Asian Cup.

“The Intercontinental Cup is a very important tournament for us and before the AFC Asian Cup, it will be a good platform to test ourselves against some of the teams of different playing styles of the elite level, who we don’t come across often,” Narzary said.

He said that a positive result against New Zealand on Thursday will matter as it will help the home reach the final with the momentum firmly on its side. India is high on confidence after back-to-back victories, against Chinese Taipei and Kenya.

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“Obviously, we will be playing for a win against New Zealand, but it will not be easy. It will be remarkable if we win all of our three matches, going ahead into the finals of the Cup and keep the winning momentum alive till the finals,” Narzary said on the eve of the game.

Post the wins, the team was involved in a recovery session at the pool and team meetings. The squad also went through a practice session at the Mumbai Football Arena.

Striker Balwant Singh, who has been a revelation in the national team since his return to the squad in 2017 at the Tri-nation tournament, at the same venue, also stays aware of the “fresh challenge“.

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“We have pulled off back-to-back wins, but a fresh challenge lies ahead. We have to keep our head down and continue working. We are a confident bunch of lads and we hope we continue the job,” Balwant said.

He added, “We are working as a unit and I feel confident to score more. As a striker, utilising opportunities and scoring goals is of paramount importance, and I won’t compromise with that.” The striker came off the bench the other night to lay it for Chhetri, who scored India’s third goal against Kenya in the last match.

Defender Subhashish Bose, who has just played two matches in the India jersey, said that the momentum has to be sustained. “We have started off in an exquisite manner, but now, the challenge is to get the job done in the same fashion. The momentum needs to be sustained and we have to overcome New Zealand next, and then the final,” Subhashish said.

India sits pretty on six points from two matches.

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