After India’s qualification for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, coach Stephen Constantine hailed the team as among the best in country’s football history.
“This is one of the best teams in the history of Indian football, if not the best,” he told reporters after India beat Macau 4-1 in a qualifier match at Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
This is only the fourth time that India has qualified for the Asian Cup.
In 1964, India participated in the tournament for the first time and ended runners up. In 1984 and 2011, they crashed out in the group stage.
Constantine said he is extremely proud of the team who had taken his demands earnestly, during training and practice sessions, before they qualified for the Asian Cup.
“I thank my staff ... everybody has been magnificent. It is a huge thing for Indian football. It is not only an honour for the team, but the whole country. Right from clubs, coaches everyone has played their part to see the success,” he said.
“The team had some ups and downs, though,” he added.
Asked whether he would be fielding the bench strength in the remaining group stage matches, Constantine said he cannot say anything for now, but wants India to finish on top of the points-table.
However, captain Sunil Chhetri intervened and said that he has no intention of missing out. “If you want us sitting out for the next two games, I am not going to sit out, for sure,” he said.