India men’s football team coach Igor Stimac confident of improving goalkeeping performance – The New Indian Express

By PTI

NEW DELHI: He’s a bit concerned about his goalkeeper’s inconsistent show so far this season, but Indian men’s football team coach Igor Stimac says he’s confident star keeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu would raise his game ahead of their upcoming international friendlies against hosts Bahrain and Belarus later this month.

Currently in preparatory camp in Pune, the Blue Tigers are scheduled to face Bahrain on March 23 and Belarus on March 26 in Manama.

“The goalkeepers have been inconsistent this season. I have already spoken to Gurpreet and he is aware that the season has not gone well,” Stimac said in an AIFF statement.

“But Gurpreet is one of the best goalkeepers in Asia, and I trust him, and all of them. We are already in the training process,” the 54-year-old added.

Gurpreet and star centre-back Sandesh Jhingan are in contention to lead the team in the two friendlies in the absence of Sunil Chhetri, who has withdrawn from the matches due to injury.

“We have to take it as a challenge. We have to learn to play when he’s not around,” Gurpreet said.

“We can’t be too dependent – it’s a team sport after all. He (Chhetri) has been phenomenal for us and that’s surely a huge miss,” he stressed.

In Chhetri’s absence, Gurpreet led India to an epic draw against Asian champions Qatar in a 2019 World Cup qualifier, which remains the highlight of the disappointing spectacle. of India in the recent past.

“It’s a great opportunity against good teams. We’re not in a position to take things lightly in the June qualifiers, whether it’s in Cambodia, Afghanistan or Hong Kong,” he said. declared.

The two friendlies are part of India’s preparation for the Asian Cup final round qualifiers to be held in Kolkata in June.

India will face Hong Kong, Afghanistan and Cambodia at Salt Lake Stadium from June 8-14 in Group D matches.

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