Fixture against Jordan important for team, says football coach Constantine

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New Delhi, Nov 14 (IANS) India’s coach Stephen Constantine on Wednesday said that the fixture against Jordan would prove to be extremely beneficial for the national football team.

In their preparation for the AFC Asian Cup in January 2019 in UAE, India will clash swords with Jordan on November 17, in an attempt to experiment tactics and gain valuable experience going into the mega competition next year.

The clash against Jordan comes on the back of a goalless draw against powerhouses China in October where India dished out a superb performance to catch Marcelo Lippi’s men in a stalemate.

“We want to do well in our preparation for the AFC Asian Cup and the clash against Jordan will aid us in that as Jordan are a good side and they have a number of good players in their ranks”, Constantine said.

“We need to play teams like Jordan leading up to the AFC Asian Cup where we would be under pressure. Even the game against China was the same where if you commit a mistake around the 18 yard box, you can easily concede. However, both sides are good technical sides and both will present different challenges.”

“We have a plan that we would like to implement during the game and we have watched the teams a lot. We had watched China three to four times and we are prepared for the challenges that come our way,” he added.

India departs for Jordan on Thursday after a three-day camp in the capital where 30 players were called by the coach including 18-year-old FIFA U-17 World Cupper Komal Thatal.

However, the Indian ranks will be without the presence of talismanic Sunil Chhetri who has been ruled out of the tie due to an ankle injury.

“Sunil missing for the clash against Jordan is a big blow for us. He is a great player and has been fantastic for us. He is one of those players that is irreplaceable but somebody has to take his place for the match against Jordan.

“However it is a great opportunity for young players to step up and although you cannot find a player of his calibre and class we need to see if the young player step up and take this opportunity.

“We need to find somebody who will be there when we don’t have Sunil Chhetri so that there is no void left in the team,” Stephen explained.

India are in Group A of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 alongside hosts UAE, Thailand and Bahrain and face Thailand in their opening match on January 06, 2019.

Complementing the Indian backline, Stephen said: “We would be under pressure in the AFC Asian Cup and our backline has been pretty stable. We want to put out the best team in the AFC Asian Cup to win taking into consideration the factors of the other teams and their quality.”

–IANS

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