Maldives stand in India's path in SAFF Cup semis
Sans skipper and striker Sunil Chettri, India are geared up for a tough fight against former champions Maldives in the semi-final of the SAFF Championship football here today.
After a pathetic show in the group stages, Chettri has been reminding his teammates of “their potential”. He has been out of the team for “double booking”, having been shown the yellow card twice in two consecutive matches.
There’s just one word ahead of the semi-final against the Maldives — belief. India had beaten the Maldives last year to win the Nehru Cup with Chettri scoring twice.
But here, the Maldives are the team to beat having scored 18 goals in just three matches. “They have scored 18 goals. But we are not that bad as a team. Maldives is not all about Ali Ashfaq. Ashfaq is a great player and the Maldives are a very dangerous unit,” said goalkeeper Subrata Paul.
However, India are not intimidated by Ashfaq’s comment that this is the “weakest-ever Indian team”, Paul said. “It’s his opinion. We are not looking back at history. Instead, we prefer to concentrate on the semi-final,” he added.