India have ability to qualify for Asian Cup knockout stage: Stephen Constantine

Vastavam web: India have the ability to qualify for the knockout stage of the 2019 Asian Cup, said national football team coach Stephen Constantine, giving wings to his players’ aspirations, quite appropriately, from the world’s tallest building — the Burj Khalifa.India were last night clubbed with hosts United Arab Emirates, Thailand and Bahrain in Group A of the AFC Asian Cup, the draw for which was held at the iconic Burj Khalifa here.”All these teams will give us different kinds of problems and we have to be prepared before facing them in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019,” he added.

The last time India participated in the continental tournament, in 2011, they were thrashed by South Korea, Australia and Bahrain, returning home bruised and battered after conceding a barrage of goals.Meanwhile captain Sunil Chhetri, along with Iranian legend Ali Daei, iconic Chinese player Sun Jihai and Philippines’ star Philip James Younghusband coordinated the picks for the four respective pots helping AFC General Secretary Dato Windsor John to conduct the draw.

“The AFC Asian Cup gives us the opportunity to rub shoulders with the best of Asia and play against players who many of whom play in many a Premier League across Europe and other parts of the world.” Chhetri, India’s all-time leading scorer, will be the lynchpin of the team. “It will be an eye-opener and even if it is a learning experience, we aim to be competitive and give our best on the pitch,” he said.