With Sunil Chhetri at the helm, Indian Hockey team’s moment of reckoning is about to arrive at the 17th edition of the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Asian Cup approaches.
The Indian team will be difficult to beat in the Asian Cup Football tournament after their recent draws against China and Oman, says captain Sunil Chhetri ahead of the continent’s showpiece event which will be played in four cities of UAE from January fifth to February first.
India has been drawn in Group A of the 24-team tournament alongside hosts, UAE, Thailand, and Bahrain. Ranked 15th in Asia, India plays their first match against Thailand on Sunday at Abu Dhabi, followed by games against UAE (Abu Dhabi) and Bahrain (Sharjah).
India played against three quality sides- China, Oman, and Jordan- in their build-up to the Asian Cup wherein they drew goal-less against China and Oman and lost to Jordan. China (76th) and Oman (82nd) are ranked higher than India (97th) while Jordan is at 109th in the World ranking list.
Chhetri quoted in AIFF website,” I can assure you that it won’t be an easy job for other teams to face us. We are a team who hate to lose and we have proven it recently. We are working as per the plan.”
“All of us are super excited now. Apart from me and Gurpreet, it is a first time experience for all else. Everybody is ready to grab this opportunity”, says the 34-year old skipper who is set to become the only Indian to feature in two Asian Cup tournaments.