India football team skipper Sunil Chhetri has warned his side against becoming complacent after securing a berth in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 and challenged them to keep working hard and qualify as group toppers. India are yet to play against Mauritius and Kyrgyzstan in remaining Group A games.
Sunil Chhetri looked determined and a man with a vision in the post-game press conference on Wednesday as the 33-year-old advised his side to keep their heads down and aim for a top finish from Group A. India have now collected 12 points from the first four games and are yet to play two more games before they progress into the finals.
The skipper was one of the four scorers in India’s emphatic 4-1 win over Macau in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 Qualifiers match in Bengaluru, which took his international goal tally to 55. “We have achieved our target but we should keep our heads down and keep on working hard to finish first in the group,” he said.
Quite contrary to the calm and resolute nature of the skipper, India coach Stephen Constantine looked ecstatic with the win. “If not the best, this Indian team is surely one of the best Indian Teams in history and the credit goes to all. Starting from the players to the supporting stuff, it’s the result of everyone’s dedication and hard work.”
Reiterating the skipper’s statement, the coach alarmed his players that they cannot start celebrations just now as they still have a long way to go. “Let’s have a good sleep tonight. But we can’t afford to sit and celebrate for long. We have to back to the business pretty soon as we’re playing Myanmar shortly.”
“We achieved our goal tonight to qualify for Asian Cup. I’m immensely proud of my team. They have followed my manners, my demands. They’ve gone through anything and everything like the tough training regime, rigorous pressure and at the end of the day, they have delivered,” Constantine added.
Recalling India’s memories in the AFC Cup eight years back, Chhetri definitely sounded more confident and a man with a mission. He expressed, “We had absolutely no idea before going into the competition. That’s why tonight's victory is so sweet. We played Bahrain, South Korea and Australia there. We’re getting the chance again in two years. We have to make it count this time. We have to be well-equipped.”
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