TRIVANDRUM: National Coach Stephen Constantine stressed on his vision of “building a Team for future,” in the Official pre-Tournament Media Interaction in Trivandrum on Tuesday (December 22).
“Our squad is about the younger Players. I am trying to build a Team for the future,” he said on the occasion.
“It’s always nice to play in your own Country. But the irony is that we haven’t been able to have 11v11 games prior to this morning despite having summoned a Preparatory Camp since December 10,” he added.
The Indian Team had a practice session in the morning. “Though we had called for Players in the Camp earlier in an effort to prepare better for the SAFF Suzuki Cup, the strength in the Camp wasn’t enough to prepare. At a time we were reduced to just 14 Players and there was no way we could conduct our practice properly,” he later told www.the-aiff.om.
Referring to a question of how he gauged the morning session, Constantine replied towww.the-aiff.com that “it’s hard to judge Players from just one session.”
All the Players summoned reported to the Camp latest by yesterday (December 21) evening except the duo of Romeo Fernandes and Mandhar Rao Desai. “We were expecting them in the Camp but they didn’t turn up,” Constantine echoed.
For the record, Constantine had earlier released an injured Sandesh Jhingan, Cavin Lobo and Seityasen Singh from the Camp in Kochi.
“I just don’t care as to who plays where. If you are good, you will find a way into my squad. That has always been my philosophy and it will always be the same. I have never gone by the names and the Clubs you play for and will not do so ever,” Constantine maintained.
“If you look at the squad, we have a couple (K Zain and Arjun Tudu) from the Army and another Player (Kaushik Sarkar) from SAI, Kolkata,” he informed at the Media Interaction.
Apart from them, Daniel Lalhimpuia, Udanta Singh and Alwyn George (all non ISL Players) were also summoned for the Camp but Constantine regretted that he “couldn’t have a look at them as they didn’t turn up.”
The trio has been products of AIFF Youth Development over the years and Daniel, was in fact, the Captain of the India U-19 National Team in the AFC U-19 Qualifiers earlier this season.
“I have my scouting system in place and will try to bring in as many new faces into the system,” Constantine stated.
In any case, another 18-year old Lallianzuala, part of the present squad said it has been an “unbelievable experience” for him.
“It’s a life time opportunity for me. The Coach has given me an opportunity and I am trying to do my best and learn as much as possible. When you look around I see my heroes playing with me. I am getting richer in experience,” he spoke at the Official Media Interaction.
“These young ones keep us on our toes all the time,” quipped Chhetri, who sat next.
India who have been clubbed in Group A with Nepal and Sri Lanka play their first match against Sri Lanka on December 25, 2015.
By Nilanjan Datta,
AIFF Media Team