6/11/2018 12:33:59 AM (GMT+3)

@StephenConstan is still juicing out of Chhetri’s brilliance, tweets an Indian fan

@StephenConstan is still juicing out of Chhetri’s brilliance, tweets an Indian fan

DOHA, Qatar: A victory is always a creditable achievement. India’s triumph at the four-nation tournament in Mumbai on Sunday evening will also be added to their list of positive results, but it’s time to introspect.

A decade ago, the then India coach Bob Houghton was also on cloud nine following India’s triumphant march at the back-to-back Nehru Cups and AFC Challenge Cup.  

From 2007 to 2008, everybody thought the “sleeping giant” had woken up from a slumber while the then team captain Baichung Bhutia played an emotional card despite carrying an injury.

Interestingly, there is a stark similarity between Houghton’s and Stephen Constantine’s current squad.

Both the Englishmen rode on the team’s domestic success and claimed to have put them on the highest pedestal.

In terms of individual skills and quality, the 2011 Asian Cup team will outsmart the current batch, which lacks a good bench as was evident against a second-stringed New Zealand side in the Mumbai competition.

On that evening, Constantine had rested his first XI players and the hosts lost the match.

Barring their hardworking captain Sunil Chhetri, India looks like a rudderless ship. Now the question is, will they be able to stand up against teams like UAE, Bahrain and Thailand in Abu Dhabi next January?

“Believe me @StephenConstan is a demon for @IndianFootball. We have no bench strength bcoz this Takloo never selects deserving players. He is still juicing out of Chhetri’s brilliance. He has no vision but arrogance. He only selects whom he likes,” tweeted one Indian fan.

Chhetri scored twice against Kenya, who didn’t come with their best squad, to win the final on Sunday evening.

The 33-year-old scored in the eighth and the 29th minute to equal Lionel Messi’s 64 goals as the second-highest scorer for his country among the current active players.

All sounds fine and good, but he will have to score against the two strong Gulf teams and a tricky Thai side at the 2019 Asian competition.

Chhetri, who has 102 appearances, looks physically fit and in best form but we must not get carried away with a success at home against the not-so-highly-rated teams.

Constantine is still struggling to build a core team. He got plenty of time to do this, but has failed to cash on it.

According to insiders, the coach terrorises young players. He don’t let them speak to any outsider, monitor their movements in and around the team hotel.  

With just six months left for the Asian Cup, Constantine should focus on creating a good bench and not just spend his time on imposing gag orders and promoting book on the social media.
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