bhaichungCONSTANTINEBusan: Despite their recent successes India are in no mood to take Bangladesh lightly when the two teams clash in their opening group C football match of the 14th Asian Games at Ulsan near here Friday.
The Indians, under new coach Stephen Constantine appear to enjoy a slight edge on current form, but can hardly afford to be complacent.
[Meanwhile, it was learnt Thursday that Arun Malhotra, who did not make the trip to Busan has failed his second dope test too, adds a report from New Delhi. AIFF president Priya Ranjan Das Munchi said the test was conducted Wednesday at the SAI dope test centre in New Delhi. The AIFF had held him back from the 20-member squad after getting information from SAI that he tested positive for a banned substance ahead of the team’s departure Sunday.]
Skipper Bhaichung Bhutia will be hoping to start the tournament on a victorious note, though winning a medal in the championship, which has a number of strong teams like hosts South Korea, Japan, China and Uzbekistan, looks an uphill task.
The Indians, who arrived a few days in advance to get acclimatised, have been clubbed with China, Bangladesh and Turkmenistan.
The victory in the six-nation LG Cup has served as a confidence-booster for the Indians who are suddenly looking a lot more organised and competitive .
A lot of credit for the transformation must go to Constantine who has brought about new work ethic with emphasis on discipline and endurance.
The players had a light workout Thursday and their was upbeat. “We are confident of doing well”, Bhutia said. India won gold in the inaugural edition of the meet in 1951 in New Delhi and then again in the 1962 Jakarta Asian Games. But after that success, nothing has really come their way.
Bangladesh have often proved a hard nut to crack for the Indians and the honours have been shared in the last decade. The seasoned defender Debjit Ghosh and medio Rennedy Singh have some experience against the Bangladeshis. “We will go into the match with a positive frame of mind. We have played some tough matches against Bangladesh but we are confident of overcoming them... We have been playing quite well in recent times,” Debjit said. Six matches are scheduled on Friday.