AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers: India beating Myanmar akin to winning an 'away gold', says Stephen Constantine
Indian football team coach Stephen Constantine on Wednesday said the win over Myanmar in their 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers campaign opener was akin to winning an 'away gold' and called it the team's biggest in recent years.
Yangon: Indian football team coach Stephen Constantine on Wednesday said the win over Myanmar in their 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers campaign opener was akin to winning an "away gold" and called it the team's biggest in recent years.
India rode on skipper Sunil Chhetri's 90th minute strike to eke out a 1-0 win and begin their campaign on a positive note on Tuesday.
"It puts us in the place where we wanted to be. All the teams will back themselves to win their home matches and try and nick something from the away games. In that perspective, we have won an away gold," Constantine said a day after securing three points in Group A.
He is relieved to have broken a 64-year-old jinx in the process.
"I am happy that we have broken the Myanmar jinx which has plagued over the 64 years. I am also happy that we have got rid of the tag of not being able to win away matches which we had for long," Constantine said.
The Briton added, "When you look at the game most people may think it's not a major issue — Myanmar is not a powerhouse in Asian football.
"But when you look at the significance and what it means to Indian football, this is perhaps one of the biggest wins in our recent history. When you look at it from inside, it's bigger than huge. We now need to build on this."
The last time India had beaten Myanmar in their own backyard was way back in October 1953 when they won 4-2 in a quadrangular tournament.
Constantine revisited the shocking away defeat against Guam in the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers, saying he will not tolerate complacency while approaching a game.
"The result against Guam is something which I will not forget for a number of reasons. The compete disrespect which most people showed for Guam affected the team.
"We were way too confident and casual in our approach and we cannot allow this to happen again. I will not allow myself and players to be complacent again and fall into the trap."
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On his future, Chhetri said: "It might sound like a lie, but I've never given my future as a footballer any thought. The one thing I probably do the best is wake up and turn up to train and play. I look forward to it."