Indian football team coach Stephen Constantine
Indian football team coach Stephen Constantine

India can qualify to knockout stage of AFC Asia Cup, says coach

ANI | Updated: May 05, 2018 11:58 IST

New Delhi [India], May 5 (ANI): After India were drawn in Group A of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, Indian football team national coach Stephen Constantine stated that India can "qualify to the knock-out stage" of the Continental Championship.

India have been clubbed with hosts United Arab Emirates, Thailand and Bahrain in Group A of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, the official draw for which was held at the iconic Burj Khalifa in Dubai on Friday.

"I think it's a group from where we can qualify to the knock-out 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," Constantine,who attended the draw along with Team manager Shanmugam Venkatesh, told the AIFF website.

"All these teams will give us different kinds of problems and we have to be prepared before facing them in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019," he added.

Meanwhile, captain Sunil Chhetri along with Iranian legend Ali Daei, iconic Chinese player Sun Jihai and Philippines' star Philip James Younghusband coordinated the picks for the four respective pots helping AFC General Secretary Dato Windsor John to conduct the draw.

Chhetri 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."

"I was part of the National Team in 2011 in Doha where we last played in the Continental Championship. Qualifying to the Asian Cup for the second time in 8 years is great for Indian Football," he added.

The Continental Championship will be held across eight stadia in four cities in the UAE -- Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Al Ain -- January 5 to February 1, 2019.

This is India's fourth qualification to the AFC Asian Cup, the last one being in Doha in 2011. India had finished runners-up to Israel in 1964.(ANI)

iocl