'Indian football team shouldn't beg people to come watch them play'

Last Updated: Tue, Jun 05, 2018 19:41 hrs
Intercontinental Cup: Chhetri stars with brace in 100th game as India beat Kenya

Differing from national skipper Sunil Chhetri's plea, Indian men's football team coach Stephen Constantine has insisted that his side which has been performing well should not be begging for support.

"I don't feel we should be begging people to watch the National team," the coach said after India registered a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Kenya in their second match of the Intercontinental Cup on Monday.

Earlier, Chhetri, ahead of the match with Kenya in the ongoing Intercontinental Cup, had made an emotional appeal to fans, requesting them to watch football and support the team.

However, Constantine, despite having a different opinion, added that he still expects the stands to be full in the upcoming matches.

"When the National team has been playing the manner we have been playing in the last three years it was disappointing to see the turnout in the first match. I expect the stands to be full in the next two matches," he stated.

Last evening, Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri scored a brace in his 100th international match while Jeje Lalpekhlua struck a 71st-minute goal to help their side outplay Kenya at Mumbai Football Arena.

Reflecting on the win, Constantine said, "I want to congratulate the boys for a hard fought victory under difficult conditions. We didn't play well in the first half. The win puts us in the final of the tournament. That's what we wanted to achieve since the beginning."

"We won most of the balls in the second half. Kenya will always be a strong team whichever squad they bring. The work rate today was phenomenal. The game against Chinese Taipei was one of the highest in terms of work rate. We had lost out a little bit in regaining the second ball," he added.

Meanwhile, central defender Sandesh Jhingan, who was voted the most valuable player of the match, said it is "great to play in Mumbai."

"It is always great to play in Mumbai. Blue Pilgrims is a unique concept. I am happy that everybody can go back with a smile on their face," Jhingan maintained. "There is never any pressure to play in front of such a full crowd. It was extra motivation from the moment when we entered the stadium. We knew we had to deliver and we did," he informed.

India are now scheduled to face New Zealand in their next Intercontinental Cup on June 7.  

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