Stephen Constantine: We've come to win the tournament

Defending champion India is in Group B, alongside Maldives and Sri Lanka, in the SAFF Championship.

Stephen Constantine says that the India U23 players have worked very hard during the camp in Australia ahead of the SAFF Championship.   -  PTI

Coach Stephen Constantine informed that promising defender Subhasish Bose will don the Captain’s armband in the India’s SAFF Suzuki Cup 2018 opener against Sri Lanka at the Bangabandhu Stadium in Dhaka on Wednesday, (September 5, 2018).

"Subhasish has been very impressive in the recent camps. In the first few days, he had to work a lot and being a fighter, he has made a strong comeback. I'm very proud of him and obviously, it's going to be a very special moment for him,” Coach lavished praise on the youngster.

On being asked whether the defending champion will start as the ‘favourites,’ the 55-year-old coach quashed it completely.

Read: On tournament eve, AIFF yet to announce team

"I have always looked to this opportunity to provide some International experience to the youngsters and that's why we have come with an U-23 squad. Obviously, we have come to win the tournament as we have always done. We have a fair chance of getting the job done but I won't say that we're going to start as favourites."

“The whole squad is eagerly waiting to get the ball rolling and I would like to say that every single member of the team is eagerly waiting. Everyone will be up for the games against us and it'll be a great experience,” he said.

India has been clubbed with Sri Lanka and one-time champion Maldives (2008) in Group B, whereas host Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan are the teams in Group A.

India has arrived in Dhaka fresh from a preparatory Camp since July in Delhi and then a 17-day preparatory camp in Sydney, where it played three friendly fixtures against APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC, Sydney FC and Rydalmere Lions FC respectively.

On being asked how the camp helped the boys prepare for the championship, Constantine stated: "The three games in Australia have been terrific practice for us. The game against Sydney FC, that too against their first squad has been a great lesson for us. We got a few positive feedbacks from Australia and those are going to be pretty helpful for us in the coming days."

Subhasish, who caught the imagination, thanks to his swashbuckling show off late, informed that it’s a 'dream-come-true' moment for him.

"It's a dream-come-true situation for me to lead the national team. I'd like to thank our coach for his trust in me and I'd give my best to make the best of my opportunity,” he stated.

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