NEW DELHI: His team may have already made the finals of next year’s Asian Cup but Indian football team head coach Stephen Constantine, who presided over an unbeaten run of 13 internationals, asked his players to remain focussed, having endured a “difficult” qualification.
India play Kyrgyz Republic in an inconsequential away game on March 27.
“We have already qualified and will have to be very careful to maintain our focus and try to get the three points,” Constantine said.
“They are a very good side and we can expect a similar game as we had against them in Bengaluru. They have good quality all over the field but so do we. They also have the home advantage this time around.”
Compared to India’s last qualification in the 2011 edition, the Briton said, “I think it has been huge and when you look at the manner we qualified this time round, it has been very difficult.
“We played the play-offs for the World Cup qualifiers, the group stages for the WC Qualifiers, the play-offs for the Asian Cup qualifiers and the group stages again. The last time we qualified was in an 8-nation competition in India and so it doesn’t compare.”
The coach said he is going to miss a few important players, including skipper Sunil Chhetri, next week.