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AFC Asian Cup: Indian football team needs to unlock Macau, says Stephen Constantine

The Indian football team will take on Macau in the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers on October 11 in Bangalore.

football Updated: Oct 01, 2017 22:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Indian football team,AFC Asian Cup,Stephen Constantine
Stephen Constantine is the coach of the Indian football team.(PTI)

The Indian senior football team is well-placed to qualify for the 2019 Asian Cup but coach Stephen Constantine doesn’t want to leave it late. He is hoping to seal the berth in the next match against Macau, in Bangalore on October 11.

The Blue Tigers, who have won all their previous three group games, are on top of Group A with nine points and need a win over Macau to secure their Asian Cup spot for which they have qualified only thrice. The last time they did was in 2011.

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“We have three more games, but the most important game is the one against Macau on October 11. This will be one of the most significant in our history. If we manage to win this game, we will qualify for the Asian Cup, which would be a tremendous achievement for Indian football,” Constantine said on the sidelines of the team’s training session at the Andheri Sports Complex on Sunday.

The Indian team arrived in Mumbai on Friday for the training camp and will be based in the city till October 9 before travelling to Bangalore.

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“The boys know the importance of the game, they know what this could mean for them, Indian football and everybody connected with Indian football. Hopefully we will get the three points,” he explained.

“It is in our hands and feet. We know the type of football Macau will try and play. Pretty much as they parked the bus, we will have to be patient, continue to do the hard work and try to find something to unlock them.”

So far, India have beaten Myanmar 1-0, Kyrgyz Republic 1-0 and Macau 2-0. A victory in the next match against Macau will take some pressure off Constantine and in the remaining two matches he can give opportunities to younger players and expand the player pool for the national team.

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“We now have quite a strong core, one guy goes out due to injury, another can come in and there is not too much loss in quality. We are in a better position than we have been for some time,” said the Englishman.

First Published: Oct 01, 2017 22:54 IST