India defender Arnab Mondal believes that the national side can leave a legacy for the nation to be proud of as they aim for a memorable performance in the AFC Asia Cup Qualifiers.
India have Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Macau in their group. The Menin Blue will face Myanmar in their first match of the qualifiers against Myanmar on March 28.
“This will be great for the next generation of footballers in the country. That’s the reason for the hard work we are putting in ahead of the qualifiers,” said Mondal before the start of Wednesday’s training session at the Andheri Sports Complex.
Mondal, who recently recovered from an injury, stated that the team was looking forward to give a great performance on the field during the qualifiers. “Everyone in the team is fresh, fit and healthy and the coaching staff is doing a great job to get the players put in as much hard work as possible,” he said. “It’s always a proud feeling to be wearing the national jersey, which by itself is a great thing. The boys will want give everything possible in the tournament. We are really excited and looking forward for the qualifiers.”
Even though he has led the Indian squad in a World Cup qualifier against Oman, Mondal believes that the captain’s role is not significant. “The team’s performance does not depend just on the captain; it depends on what the entire team does during a match.”
Regarding talks of being slotted in a relatively easy group, which includes Myanmar, Macau and Kyrgyzstan, the kingpin of the East Bengal defence played down the claim stating it wasn’t true. “We can’t say sitting here that they are not up to the mark. They will be preparing for the tournament in a similar manner as we have been over the past few months,” Mondal added. “The Myanmar team is being managed by a German coach for the last eight years. Even then, if the group is favourable we should do well. The confidence is high in the Indian team to do well and that’s not because the opposition is weak.”