After a gap of 8 years, Indian football team has finally managed to qualify for the Asian Cup which is all set to take place in the United Arab Emirates from January 5 to February 1, 2019.

What Happened in 2011 Asian Cup?

India had got a sound thrashing last time around in the Asian Cup in 2011 by South Korea, Australia, and Bahrain and was beaten black and blue.

As accepted by Sunil Chettri (Captain of the Indian football team), it was altogether a new experience for the squad in 2011 and they weren’t prepared for the massive jump.

However, this time the Indian team is confident of putting up a brave show in UAE as they are determined to perform at their best.

The Groups In 2019 Asian Cup

Group A: UAE, Thailand, India, Bahrain
Group B: Australia, Syria, Palestine, Jordan
Group C: Korea, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Philippines
Group D: Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, Yemen
Group E: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Lebanon, DPR Korea
Group F: Japan, Uzbekistan, Oman, Turkmenistan

The Captain’s Viewpoint?

Sunil Chettri said-

“The AFC Asian Cup is an enormous opportunity for us and we are looking forward to it. Back home in India, everyone is excited and we have the blessings of all the people and we will do our best,

The AFC Asian Cup gives us the opportunity to rub shoulders with the best of Asia and play against players who many of whom play in many a Premier League across Europe, and other parts of the world. It will be an eye-opener and even if it is a learning experience, we aim to be competitive and give our best on the pitch.”

Easy Group?

Indian national football team coach Stephen Constantine was upbeat about the current situation at hand and was relishing at the prospect of rubbing shoulders with the best in business.

“I think it’s a group from where we can qualify to the knockout stage. I won’t say it’s an easy group but we have the ability to win against some of these teams and on our day, we can beat most of them.”

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Realistic Expectations

As zealous football fans, we must be expecting India to come out victors from the Asian Cup but the reality is that we are still not among the elite when it comes to football.

Qualifying for the knockouts should be enough of an achievement for us at this point of time but there isn’t an iota of doubt that we are on the rise as a football nation. Slowly but definitely.

We as Indians shouldn’t let the team come forward to plead for support. It was heartening to see the massive positive response from the Indians when our national team captain had posted a video to support them. But when the 2019 Asian Cup starts, there shouldn’t be any dearth of passion from any of us.

As an ardent football team, it’s my dream to watch India play in the World Cup in this lifetime of mine. Before that, all of us genuinely hope that we make our nation proud in the Asian Cup. Let’s hope for the best.

Sources: TOI, SportsKeeda, Indian Express

Images: Google Images

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