Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], June 3 (ANI): As the Indian senior national team is days away from playing in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers, team goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu wants his team to be 'respectful and ruthless' in beating the lower-ranked teams in their quest to qualify in the tournament.
India have been clubbed in Group D along with Hong Kong, Afghanistan, and Cambodia.
"Every draw in modern-day football is a tricky one. We need to be respectful towards our opponents. Obviously, they have also been preparing for these three matches, and it's understandable that they have done their homework much like us," Sandhu said.
"We can't take anyone lightly not at this stage because the stakes are high. Even as much as we need to respect the teams we play, we need to be ruthless in our approach," he added. After kicking off their campaign against Cambodia, India next take on Afghanistan (June 11) and Hong Kong (June 14).
Six first ranked teams in the groups and five best runners-up will make it to the showpiece AFC Asian Cup next year.
"We need to make sure we go out there to get the result. I believe we should be the one team that earns a ticket to the AFC Asian Cup 2023 from this group," Sandhu said.
Talking about the significance of qualification to the AFC Asian Cup for Indian Football, Sandhu said, "It means progress and that we are doing things right. It is that place where we want to be again and again, and every four years. It's a stepping stone for us. If we do well in the Asian Cup, there are more chances of us doing better at the World Cup Qualifiers."
"It is that place where we want to be again and again, and every four years. It's a stepping stone for us. If we do well in the Asian Cup, there are more chances of us doing better at the World Cup Qualifiers," he concluded.
India is entering the qualifiers on the back of three successive losses in international friendly matches, thus the Blue Tigers will actually have to be careful of their opponents. (ANI)