Tuesday, Aug 13, 2002
Front Page |
Southern States |
Other States |
Advts: Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |
Indian football team poses with the LG Gold Cup it won, defeating Vietnam in the final of the six-nation tournament held in Vietnam, on its return to Kolkata on Monday.
With the Indian soccer getting inured to failures, reflected in the three decades of success drought, it was a different sight at the Netaji Subhas Bose International Airport here on Monday as a beaming Indian squad arrived with the LG Gold Cup--the supposed symbol of a rebirth.
Constantine cornered the credit for transforming the team--consisting mostly of a selection of green horns--into a winning outfit.
The director of India's Busan Asian Games football project and former international, Shanto Mitra, said the sport in India was looking to raise itself from the depths of despair brought over by years of under-achievement.
Mirta said Constantine's greatest accomplishment had been in unifying the team and instilling in it a "killer attitude". He added that the presence of captain Bhaichung Bhutia--enriched by his experience of playing in English league--was a vital factor as that player excelled in the team's crucial encounters.
Speaking about the gains from the tournament, Constantine said the team's achievement would help India improve its FIFA rankings. Added to this is the fact that the players got vital experience of playing against quality Asian teams. He praised the players for a great show of discipline and self-belief. "We beat Indonesia, the three-time champion, and also the host twice. More so, the level of self-belief of the team can gauged from the fact that we scored three times after 80 minutes to realise the wins,'' the coach said.
Constantine accredited for initiating "nasty football" explained his theory as a method of playing hard. He defended his theory saying that he discouraged players from playing safe. The idea was to exert a bit hard and try to gain a psychological advantage on the opponent. "The forcefulness helped in gaining positive results," the coach defended himself.
He was also quick to add a note of caution. " There is no time to rest on the laurels. We have lot of areas to improve and I do not want anybody to get carried away by the little we have gained," he said adding that Asian Games posses a much greater challenge and the team would have to work lot harder to return better results.
The team, following a week's holiday, will regroup in Delhi before leaving for England on a eight-day trip in the last week of the month to play a couple of friendly matches against Jamaica.
Bhutia said that the final against senior Vietnam was the best match of his life. With the team trailing 0-2, he scored twice in the final to equalise and set the tone for victory, realised subsequently by substitute Abhishek Yadav.
Bhutia said that the triumph epitomised great teamwork and discipline. All worked very hard and thus were able to successfully imbibe the tactics professed by the coach, he said.
The winning squad: Goalkeepers--Sangram Mukherjee, Rajat Ghosh Dastidar, Naseem Akhtar; Defenders--Mahesh Gawli, Samir Naik, Deepak Mondal, Satish Bharti, Arun Malhotra, Monitomba Singh, Devjit Ghosh; Midfielders--Renedy Singh, Sasthi Duley, S. Venkatesh, Tomba Singh, K. Ajayan, Jo Paul Ancheri; Forwards--Alex Ambrose, Bijen Singh, Abhishek Yadav, Praveen Kumar, Bhaichung Bhutia (captain). Chief coach: Stephen Constantine; Technical director: Sukhvinder Singh; Assistant coaches: Derek Pereira and Alok Mukherjee. Our Sports Reporter
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | Home |
Copyright © 2002, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of