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India will be a big team once they are regular at AFC Asian Cup,final stages of World Cup qualifiers, feels coach

New Delhi: India football coach Stephen Constantine would not rate his side, which on Thursday retained the 100th position in Fifa rankings, a big team until they become a regular at the AFC Asian Cup and final stages of the World Cup Qualifiers.

The Indian football team, last month, had made it into the top 100 of the Fifa world rankings for the first time in 21 years.

Despite the recent leap in rankings, Constantine has maintained that every opposition is a "dangerous and difficult opponent".

Fie image of Indian football coach Stephen Constantine. AFP

Fie image of Indian football coach Stephen Constantine. AFP

"Some people do feel that I always make the other team look bigger than us. That's because at the moment we are trying to establish ourselves in Asian football. Once we are perpetually qualifying to the AFC Asian Cup and to the final qualifying stages of the World Cup from Asia, we can start to think and feel we are a big team. We are not there yet but are on the right track," Constantine said.

In his second stint with India, the Briton felt that the team has been able to raise the bar in the last two years.

"I understand we have been able to raise the bar over the last two years and that's what the intent was. However, in the larger scheme of things we have not achieved anything. After our international friendly against Nepal, we play against Kyrgyz Republic and they are a very dangerous and difficult opponent."

He said the focus is on qualifying for the 2019 Asian Cup.

"As far as they want. I think the nucleus of this team is there for the next four-five years and right now we are focusing on the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 which is on the top of our priority list."

Asked what he expect from the Kyrgyz Republic team, Constantine said, "They have some very good players and are very well organised."

"You think of the belt they are coming from and their neighbouring countries — Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan - you will understand that they are all very capable players. They will be very difficult and we expect very difficult games, both at home and away."

India play Nepal in a friendly on 6 June before locking horns with Kyrgyz Republic in the Asian Cup qualifiers on 13 June.

Updated Date: Jun 01, 2017 19:31 PM

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