Indian football coach Stephen Constantine has cautioned his players from getting carried away after the team achieved its best-ever FIFA ranking in the last two decades, asking them to keep getting better.
As India rose to the 96th spot in the latest FIFA rankings issued on Thursday, Constantine attributed it to team work.
“There is always the next game which comes to your mind. So it's not always possible to enjoy the moment. That's how life is as you are always trying to get better. People may be tempted to go crazy with the recent rise in rankings and the results, but we cannot get carried away,” Constantine said.
Constantine was in his room as the news broke, lonely but smiling nonetheless.
“I don't think it's got to do anything with magic. It's just a respect for my job and respect for my players, as much its the respect for the people around me. These are the key ingredients to any national team moving forward.
“Football team is never about one single person. I take responsibility when the team is not doing well and share the praise when the team is doing well. That's how it is.”
India were ranked 171 when Constantine took over for the second time in February 2015 and slipped further to 173rd in March 2015 in the FIFA ladder even before the gaffer could have his first game in charge against Nepal, which India eventually won 2-0 on aggregate.
“I was here some 10 years prior and at that time no one knew me. I have always had an emotional attachment with India. Having said that, 2015 was the first year after the Indian Super League was launched.
“I could foresee a change coming as Indian Football had itself decided that it needed to change. I felt that I could help them go forward. Luckily, Mr. (Praful) Patel also thought the same.”