New Delhi, March 24 (IANS) Indian men’s football team head coach Igor Stimac lavished praise on debutant Roshan Singh after his performance in the international friendly against Bahrain, a match where India went down 1-2.
The coach added that the players need to compete for national team positions with their performances.
“I am very happy about young Roshan Singh who confirmed he is a future Indian star — not just in the Hero Indian Super League, but also at the international stage,” Stimac stated.
“It was a good day for all the boys to gain the experience. They all did well and they need to keep competing for their positions in the national team,” the coach added.
India next play Belarus in another international friendly on March 26.
India had conceded a penalty early in the first half which was saved diving to his left by captain and goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. “I looked at the coach, and he pointed me to the left. I was lucky enough to save it,” Gurpreet informed.
“It was an important match for us, and there are many learnings. Given the fact that we had very less time to prepare, the boys did well. We need to keep our heads high and look forward to the next game,” Gurpreet, who had played 49 international matches so far, stated.
The match also saw central defender Rahul Bheke scoring his first international goal.
“It feels great to get the name on the scoresheet. But individual stats don’t matter much. We had started the game well, and got a goal early in the second half. Looking back, I feel we should have done better. The boys who came in did well. We have another match coming up in 3 days, and it will be a challenging one,” Bheke expressed.
The international friendlies are a part of the team’s preparation for the final round of the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 qualifying matches which will be held in Kolkata from June 8 onwards. India have been clubbed in Group D along with Hong Kong, Afghanistan and Cambodia. 24 teams have been divided into six groups and the group winners, and the five best 2nd placed teams will earn a ticket to the Asian Cup in China.