Happy with India's ranking leap: Indian football icon I.M. Vijayan Vijayan

Stephen Constantine says Iran are Giants of AsiaKolkata: Indian football icon I.M. Vijayan on Thursday hailed India's entry into the top 100 of the FIFA rankings, saying the side languished too low for a long time and these are signs of improvement which hold promise for the future.

"It's great news. We have been lying low for too long a period. It was time we did something about it and Stephen Constantine (India coach) has done a good job so far," Vijayan told IANS over phone.

"During our time the best we got was 95. I'm happy the team is winning away and rankings have shot up considerably," the ace striker who played for East Bengal and Mohun Bagan and was one of the key members of the India team at the peak of his career, added.

As per the updated rankings released on Thursday, the Stephen Constantine-coached side climbed a place and are now placed in the 100th spot alongwith Nicaragua, Lithuania and Estonia.

India's meteoric rise in the rankings has been due to triumphs over Cambodia and Myanmar, both away wins.

All India Football Federation (AIFF) General Secretary Kushal Das said rankings are at times a "mathematical game" and the team needs to improve in their minds and keep on winning games.

"It's a mathematical game at times," Das told IANS.

"Rankings are not always a true reflection of form. It's definitely important as it helps us play better opponents in friendlies. But we need to improve in our minds and believe that we can keep on winning football matches," Das added.

India will next face Lebanon in an international friendly on June 7, ahead of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifying clash against Kyrgyzstan on June 13.