Myanmar coach Gerd Zaise is so impressed with Sunil Chhetri that he is willing to offer the Indian football team skipper his country’s passport.
Referring to Chhetri’s goal, which made the difference between the two teams in their first leg 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers, the German described Chhetri as the “most dangerous player”.
“The Indian captain is a cool customer and he’s the most dangerous player. We must take care of the counter attacks and the defence line must be cautious when it involves him,” Zaise stated.
“I am ready to give him a Myanmar Passport,” he said and repeated the line when he met Chhetri after the press conference.
Passport should be given to defenders: Chhetri
Referring to the Myanmar coach’s comments that he’s ready to provide Chhetri with a Myanmar passport, he quipped: “Let’s not take away the credit from our defenders. As I remember we defended for most of the time and they carried out the job with utmost precision.
“If he hands me a Myanmar passport, it is to be given to the defenders, Jeje, Udanta too,” Chhetri added.
Despite having sealed qualification, Chhetri admitted that the team were a work-in-progress and needed to learn from the mistakes they made in the previous game.
“I admit that they had a lot of ball possession. They kept us under tremendous pressure throughout. But at the end of the day, we took all three points.
“I will any day take three points at the end, no matter who has more ball possession.”
‘First step in preparation’
India coach Stephen Constantine said the game would be the first step in his side’s preparations ahead of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
“This match is the first step to Asian Cup’s preparation which is precisely 14 months away,” he said at the official pre-match press conference.
“The match allows us the opportunity to test the depth of our squad. Obviously, we are looking forward to it,” he maintained.
Constantine showed huge respect for the visitors and said that it can be “anyone’s game”.
“Myanmar are a very disciplined side. The coach is there for eight long years and he follows a similar system. We had a torrid time in Myanmar.”
Myanmar are hoping to secure a place in the finals and will be gunning for a positive result.
“India are really good at defending and we have to absolutely on our toes to penetrate them. I would like to congratulate them on their success but tomorrow we have to take our chances to go back with a positive result,” Zaise stated.
“We have come to Goa to play good football and take some points. Our first target is to not lose. We were the better side in the first leg but ended up on the losing side.
“We need to score. Sometimes, you will get only one chance in the entire match and you need to utilise that.”