SAFF Cup: Confident India to take on Nepal today

SAFF CUP India play their second match against Nepal on Sunday December 27THIRUVANANTHAPURAM (TRIVANDRUM): Even as the live band made all to stand, hum and lip sync, the Indian footballers, post their convincing 2-0 victory over Sri Lanka headed to the roof top for their Dinner.

The rooftop was misleading – it wasn’t snazzy but just a huge roof with tables and dinner prepared as per Danny Deigan’s Menu. The twinkling lights away perhaps may have given the feeling of the Christmas Star. That was the night of Christmas.

The contingent stay aware as national coach Stephen Constantine has emphasized that “the end matters, not the beginning.” In fact, all were worried more and constantly kept asking how serious Robin Singh’s injury was.

Morning after, Constantine informs “Robin’s X-ray reveals it isn’t anything serious. He will be back.”

Post breakfast, it was Sun, Sand and Football for the boys. The recovery session was conducted at the World famous Kovalam Beach – onlookers watching and joining in for selfies with the players.

“When you do recovery sessions in water it’s quite beneficial for the players. They don’t feel the pressure, the banging on the joints as the water takes away all the pressure” Constantine mentions to

“It also gets them out of the Hotel apart from their daily schedule which at times can be boring. When you train with scenery behind you it’s quite a bit of fun. So it’s as much as mental as much as physical,” Constantine adds.

How did you see Nepal in their first match against Sri Lanka?

“Nepal were unlucky to lose in their first match. They are a good side and tomorrow (Sunday, December 27) will be a tricky match. We are an improving Team and hopefully, we will get the result we desire.”

Desire! That’s quite evident in the squad. From a distance you watch Constantine speaking to Lallianzuala. Hands on his shoulder, the Gaffer explains waving his hands. The waves thunder at the background.

You ought to credit it to the Coach. For the SAFF Championship, it’s a 20-member squad which can be registered. And he was brave enough to have an 18-year old kid and another University student who has just played for a State League Team, that too not for any big side in the list of 20. Not to forget that registering three Goalkeepers stays a must in the Championship.

“Listen,” this time Constantine puts his shoulder around you. “Sports is simple. If you are good enough, you are old enough. Do your job, get your chance, grab your spot,” comes the 1-2-3 from Constantine.

At the Kovalam, the boys played some warm-up games, stretched on the sands, some jogging in the water and a bit of fun riding the waves.

Arnab Mondal, who was at times dragged into the waves by Pronay (Halder), Narayan (Das) and Pritam (Kotal) laughed it off when mentioned whether he feared of the deep waters.

“Life is synonymous with challenges. Waters will be deep but we are there to ride and swim out of the deep. We are Constantine’s squad. We are fearless,” he said even as Halder helped dust the sand behind his back.

The kick-off against Nepal on Sunday (December 27) is at 6.30pm and will be telecast live on Star Sports.

By Nilanjan Datta,
AIFF Media Team