Intercontinental Cup will help in preparations for AFC Cup: Sandesh Jhingan
India play against Kenya, New Zealand and Chinese Taipei in the inaugural Intercontinental Cup in build up to the AFC Asian Cup which begins in January.football Updated: May 28, 2018 10:54 IST
Central defender Sandesh Jhingan is upbeat ahead of the opportunity of going up against physically dominant teams as India continue with their preparations for the Intercontinental Cup.
Kenya, New Zealand and Chinese Taipei are the other teams that will participate in the four nation tournament in Mumbai starting June 1.
Jhingan feels that these gruelling encounters could serve as a test for the Indian team that is set to play in the AFC Asian Cup next year.
“I think these games will help us in our preparations for the Asia Cup. There are no easy teams in the tournament,” Jhingan said. “We need to play as many games together against tough opponents. It will test our abilities and we’ll get to know our weaknesses as well. We are looking forward to it.”
“Every game that the Indian team plays now will be in preparation for the Asian Cup. Bahrain and UAE are physical teams in our group, so matches against a physical side like Kenya will help us iron out our flaws. We like to play against tough teams who will keep you on your toes, that is how you learn,” said the Kerala Blasters man.
Indian striker Jeje Lalpekhlua, who won the Indian Super League with Chennaiyin FC in March, further emphasised the need for the national team to play as many games together as possible in order to get their balance right.
“Right now the team is doing well and training is going equally well. This tournament is very good for us because we need games under the belt before the Asian Cup. It will help us pick a team and some of the senior players can mix up with the younger lot,” said Jeje.
Drawn into Group A of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup alongside hosts United Arab Emirates (UAE), Thailand and Bahrain, India play their opening game against Thailand on January 6, 2019.