I-League and ISL are not at the same pace as international football : Stephen Constantine

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I-League and ISL are not at the same pace as international football : Stephen Constantine

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Arun S Kaimal

06/08/2016

Indian football team coach Stephen Constantine on Tuesday reiterated the need to spend more time with the players for international matches after India’s 6-1 win over Laos at Guwahati. The Englishman also added that International football is at a much higher level than the I-League and the ISL.

After a disastrous campaign in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier/2019 Asian Cup Qualifier, which saw them finishing at the bottom of their group with just one win from eight games, India produced a stellar performance in the 2019 Asian Cup qualifier play-off and registered a 7-1 aggregate win over Laos to enter the third round of qualifiers. Speaking after the match, coach Stephen Constantine showered praise on the team’s performance and once again explained the need for more time with players for International matches.

“The work done at the clubs is of one level and that at the international level is completely different. We need a minimum of 10 days to get them up to the pace of international football. This is why I have been requesting since I came here that, we can get things done in India, but we need time.

“The I-League and the ISL are not the same pace as international football and there’s no getting away from that fact. The quality is there, but we need time to coach them,” Constantine was quoted as saying by Goal.com.

The Englishman also talked about the impact made by Jackichand Singh, who produced a terrific performance after coming on as a first-half substitute in place of Udanta Singh. The Salgaocar player set up two goals in three minutes to help India go into the break with a 2-1 lead.

“Well, I think we were struggling on both sides, and Jackichand came in and changed the game for us. He has had a bit of time away from the national team, now he has come back and he was very good,” he praised.

When asked about India’s chances in the third round of 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifier, Constantine said that all would depend on the draw.

“My objective, when I came here, was to get us to that stage. A lot will depend on the draw to start with, and then on how we will approach the game. Also, the calendar, the timings, everything will be a factor. And I have a question for you - when was the last time India scored six goals? And who had heard of Cardozo before today?,” Constantine said.

The former Rwanda coach also pointed out the injuries he suffered before the match against Laos and said that the pool of players he had at his disposal helped India in the game.

“Last time India scored six in 1971 against Malaysia. And today we did that despite having players like Bikash Jairu, Cavin Lobo, seven or eight players who would otherwise be a part of this side. This was my objective, to create a pool of players who come in, play and fight for their place,” revealed the former Millwall coach, reported Goal.com.

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