Constantine rues lack of preparation time

Constantine rues lack of preparation time

Stephen Constantine

India coach Stephen Constantine believes in taking friendlies seriously and said his team would give its all in the away match against China on October 13. The Englishman, however, would have liked early release of players from their respective clubs.

“Some of the players are playing for the first time today which of course is a problem because we don't have much time to really do what we need to do. I know we have FIFA dates but we need a little bit more time. One or two days before we go to play a game is difficult,” said Constantine on the sidelines of the preparatory camp on Tuesday.

“When we get the players from the club, because they have had game, they need at least two days to recover before we can start putting them in there. But we can't do that because in four days we play. So that is the difficulty.”

The game against 75th-ranked China, the coach said, would give the team an assessment ahead of the all-important AFC Asian Cup. “China is a top team in Asia, they like to play possession football but they also like to press high. So it's also going to be a difficult game for us. But these are the games we have to play, we have to play under pressure. It would be a great indication of where we are and how far we need to go,” he said.

”Friendly” or not “friendly”, you are playing for the country. It's “friendly” only in the word. If these guys want to go for the Asian Cup, they will have to play for that position. We are not going there to lose, we will try to win the game. And if we don't win, we will try to take positives from the game.

“One has to be fully aware of what is going to face us in the Asian Cup. It is a big stage, big crowd.”

With 13 under-23 players in the squad, Constantine said he would be eager to give youngsters a chance.

“There is always an opportunity to put a younger player and I would do that. I took under-23 squad to SAFF and I did that for a specific reason, otherwise, those players wouldn't have been here. I saw them in action against Pakistan, Maldives, I saw them in the final where there is pressure. And they did very well. “

Balwant Singh out

Constantine also confirmed that Balwant Singh has been left out due to passport issues. “Balwant Singh had to drop out of the squad because his passport doesn't have exactly six months (to expire), it's five months and a week. And that's frustrating because Bali has done really well in the last 18 months with me and he is a player who we value very much.”

DH News Service