Former footballers on Wednesday heaped praise on the Stephen Constantine coached India team ahead of their AFC Asian Cup qualifiers away fixture against Macau on September 5.
India maintained their unbeaten 10-match run after registering a 1-1 draw against St.Kitts and Nevis in their previous fixture to lift the Tri-Nation cup.
“The 2011 Asian Cup was a huge learning experience for us. This present team is on a roll and are very close to repeating the feat. Make it count, Constantine has brought in a fighting spirit into the team and that provides our boys a cutting edge over their opponents,” former India right back Deepak Mondal said.
Ex-India centre back Mahesh Gawli, who made 20 appearances for East Bengal in 2003-04 said: “As former footballers, we look for an upward graph of our national team. I’m really happy that they are doing well. I wish all the best for their forthcoming match against Macau.”
However, Mondal and Gawli praised the current defensive line-up comprising of key players such as captain Sadesh Jhingan, Arnab Mondal, Pritam Kotal, Narayan Das, Anas Edathodika, Jerry Lalrinzuala and Lalruatthara.
“I learnt they didn’t concede a goal for 300-odd minutes. That’s really stupendous in international football at any point of time. It shows that the defenders, the goalkeeper and others are perfectly synchronised and they’ve to maintain this until the job is finished,” Mondal said.
Gawli said: “There’s a healthy competition amongst the defenders and this is a good headache for the coach. Constantine has been rotating the squad and more youngsters are getting the opportunities to showcase their talent. It just reiterates his trust in his boys.”
India had previously defeated Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.