Bengaluru: India football head coach Stephen Constantine has pressed for an international friendly match before playing against formidable Iran in September in the 2018 football World Cup Qualification Preliminary Round Two in Bengaluru.
Stephen Constantine. Pic/PTI
"I need more time for preparations. I need friendly games. I need my team to play a friendly before we take on Iran," he told reporters here. India play Guam on June 16 and then take on Iran on September 8 here in Group D of the Preliminary Round Two of the qualifiers.
Constantine said his wards need games to get experience to play at international level. "These boys need games. Last year they played twice in 12 months, so we have a lot of boys who do not have international experience. They will learn on the job and hopefully learn it quickly and try to get results so that we can go to the next stage," he said after India lost to Oman 1-2 here.
The Englishman said his team was trying to regain the lost respect in Asia. "We are going to be a very good side. We are trying to regain our respect in Asia which we never had for the last 11 years," he said. Constantine said India's performance against Oman was much better than the performance put up against Nepal in Round One.
"We showed not only to Oman, but a lot of other teams that we are going to get better every game. This was a better performance than the game we won against Nepal ... So I think we are moving in the right direction," he said. Constantine said his team will not be going down the FIFA ladder but climb up the charts.
"We have to give these boys a chance. We have been telling from the beginning that we would not be a powerhouse after 10 games. We have been for years down, but will not be down, that's for sure. What I saw was the boys came back after going down ... that's the goal for me," he said.