By Shraishth Jain,
AIFF Media Team
BURIRAM (THAILAND): Bright and sunny skies along with the unmistakable summer heat greeted the Indian Senior Men’s National Team at the 'City of Happiness' as the Blue Tigers embarked on their King's Cup 2019 campaign with a much-awaited clash against Curacao at the Chang Arena on Wednesday (June 5, 2019).
With the Blue Tigers coming from an off-season, Indian Head Coach Igor Stimac understands “it will be tough.”
“The weather conditions will be difficult. This being the off-season, the situation is tough. But at the same time, it is the same for everyone. We're here to win, and do our best,” he stated on the team’s arrival in Buriram.
India’s clash against Curacao who are ranked 82 in the latest FIFA World Ranking, will mark India's return to the iconic King's Cup -- one of Asia's oldest International tournaments -- after a gap of 38 years.
“The boys are confident, and have understood that they can improve their game with hard work on a daily basis,” Stimac maintained.
“I appreciate the hard work put in by the players over the last 10 days in New Delhi. I expect them to implement their learnings from practice in the upcoming tournament,” he stated.
This will be Stimac’s first international assignment after his appointment as the new coach, as much it will mark another historic landmark for Indian Football with stalwart Sunil Chhetri poised to become the most-capped player for the national team. The talismanic forward currently has 107 caps to his name, keeping him tied with former captain and striker Bhaichung Bhutia.
Central midfielder Pronoy Halder complemented Stimac saying that the Coach has been constantly reminding the Blue Tigers that they can bridge the gap with the top nations.
“The coach keeps saying to us that if we listen to him, and execute it on the field, we can go a long way. The most significant part stays that all the players have taken it in the right spirit,” Halder quipped.
“We understand Curacao are a very strong team as most of their players at playing in premier divisions across Europe. That is providing us the extra motivation to prove a point. We will give our 100 percent,” Halder declared.
The final list of 23 for the King’s Cup is as follows:
GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Kamaljit Singh.
DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Rahul Bheke, Sandesh Jhingan, Adil Khan, Subhasish Bose.
MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Jackichand Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Anirudh Thapa, Raynier Fernandes, Pronay Halder, Vinit Rai, Sahal Abdul, Amarjit Singh, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Michael Soosairaj.
FORWARDS: Balwant Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Farukh Choudhary, Manvir Singh.
HEAD COACH: Igor Stimac.