'Will give our 100 per cent'

Jeje, Jackichand assert that India will not be mere pushovers

'Will give our 100 per cent'

The Indian coach Stephen Constantine is not shy of admitting the challenge his side is up to when it takes on Oman in its opening game of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers here on Thursday.

And, two of the lethal weapons in the Indian armoury, Jeje Lapekhlua and Jackichand Singh, have assured that the team is set to give its best when it steps out on the pitch for what the coach has termed to be a ‘war’. “They (Oman) are a very strong side and it will be a tough game. But we won’t make it any easy for them. We will give our best and try to get the most out of the tie. Winning is what we are aiming for,” said Jeje on Monday.

Ranked 101 in the world, the middle-eastern outfit has the likes of goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi, midfield superior Ahmed Al-Mahaijri and striker Amad Al-Hosni who have played over 100 games for the national side. On the other hand, Constantine has opted for a relatively new-look Indian side with Sunil Chhetri being the most experienced campaigner with 77 games under his belt. Asked if the lack of international exposure could be a problem for the Indians, the duo was quick to thwart away any such trouble. “Yes we are young, but the coach has selected the team based on the kind of players he wants. He has chosen us based on what he saw in the league,” said Jeje.

“I don’t think the inexperience of our side will be a disadvantage for us. If we can work on our strategies, and do what the coach expects us to do, things should be fine.”
Jackichand too was of the opinion that the team could excel if it worked well on the tactics of their coach. “Our coach is a quick reader of the game. He can assess a player after 10-12 minutes of play. If we follow what he says and give our 100 per cent on the field, then we will do well,” said the midfielder.

Coming on the back of a successful season with Royal Wahingdoh, the 23-year-old Manipuri said that he wanted to carry on the good work to help his side go through to the next round of the qualifiers. “The season was really good. We played well as a unit and the results speak for themselves. But, that’s not all. I want to carry on this form to the national side,” he said.

“The most important thing for me is to remain fit and follow whatever the coach says. I want to score my first international goal in this match. That is the only thing on my mind right now,” said the winger.

While Jackichand comes after a commendable show in the I-League, his team-mate Jeje has had to endure a difficult period at Mohun Bagan after being sidelined due to an injury for most part of the season. But the Mizo believes that he is ready for the Omani challenge. “Yes, it’s been a very difficult phase in my career. Not being able to play for a long time is something that always had me worrying. But, now I am back and fit. I am ready to give by best,” said the forward.


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