6/9/2018 1:24:53 AM (GMT+3)

Former India captains, coaches slam Constantine and AIFF

Former India captains, coaches slam Constantine and AIFF

KOLKATA: Former Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen along with several former international stars blasted the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and national coach Stephen Constantine for hosting a meaningless tournament.  

The four-nation competition, which is being currently underway in Mumbai, features African, Ocenia and one Asian side including the hosts.

“Can someone ask Constantine or the AIFF bosses how the Intercontinental Cup will benefit the national team’s preparation for the Asian Cup,” Sen told www.khelupdates.com a day after New Zealand beat India 2-1.

Arguably one of the best Indian coaches in recent years, who’ve had great success with Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting, Sen believed that the tournament is ill-timed and won’t help the national side.

“Kenya and New Zealand had send their second team. How that’s going to help us for our Asian Cup preparation. We’ll face stiff challenge from Bahrain, UAE and Thailand in the next year’s competition,” Sen asked.

India have won two while lost one in the round-robin competition, which will have its final on Sunday.

“We didn’t get such training matches in our times. But I’ve serious doubt if the Indian team is really being  benefited from playing against these mediocre sides. Our boys need exposure, but that does not mean playing with weaker teams will help them,” said former India captain Joe Paul Anchery.

Indian captain Sunil Chhetri has scored in all the three matches including a hat-trick against Chinese Taipei in the opening match, but it remains to be seen how well he does against the superior Gulf teams at the continental competition in Abu Dhabi next year.

“This tournament in Mumbai is not at all a preparation for next year’s Asian Cup where India will be up against strong teams. The AIFF and Constantine should have invited at least two three better teams from Asia,” said Biswajit Bhattacharya.

Former captain Shabbir Ali, regarded as one of the best striker’s the country has produced, also criticised on the choice of teams.  

“Intercontinental Cup is unlikely to help much. Understood that top teams are not readily available nowadays because of their other commitments, but still AIFF could’ve got some higher-ranked teams,” Ali said over the phone from Hyderabad.

Sen said he was surprised that Constantine ‘pestered’ the federation to send the team to the Asian Games.

“Playing against teams like Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives will hardly help. If India wants better results, they must start playing against top sides,” said Sen.

India had lost all their three group matches at the 2011 Asian Cup in Doha, Qatar.

“We still have six months left for the tournament. Organising training matches with top standard sides will boost our team’s confidence,” added Anchery.