India taking semis against Maldives as 'just another game' | sports | Hindustan Times
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India taking semis against Maldives as 'just another game'

sports Updated: Dec 09, 2011 01:10 IST
Rohit Bhaskar
Rohit Bhaskar
Hindustan Times
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India coach Savio Medeira is a man of few words. The restraint he shows when he does speak doesn’t give away much either.

For three years, the assiduous Goan toiled in the background as former head coach, Bob Houghton's, assistant. His mantra was simple: To be seen, not heard.

Since taking over the reins from interim coach Armando Colaco last month, Medeira's responsibilities, including interactions with the media, have broadened. His distinct single-sentence-answer manner, however, is still the same.

A day before the Saff championship semifinal against the Maldives, against whom they've split the last two Saff crowns, Medeira was his usual reserved self — careful not to give anything away. Asked about the line-up, Medeira shot back, "I have many options. However, I will firm up the line-up tomorrow."

And the game plan for the day? “We will play like we have played in the last three matches,” he told HT. “It’s just another match.”

Not one to let pressure get to him, Medeira has his eyes set on the match at hand. “The final in not on anyone’s mind… we aren’t looking beyond the next match.”

No pushovers
Maldives’ hopes will rest largely on the shoulders of Ali Ashfaq. India defender Gourmangi Singh has seen enough of the Maldivian striker, who was recently offered a trial by Portuguese giants Benfica, to gauge the threat he possesses.

“He’s possibly the best striker in this part of the world. He can be a tricky customer. But, as a team, we are not focussing on the opposition, a particular player or the team. We want to play true to our style,” he told HT.

In the second semifinal, Afghanistan, who’ve been the form team in the tournament, will face Nepal, who’ve been egged on by a passionate, vocal crowd.