Indian football coach Wim Koevermans believes that the performance on the ground is what matters and not critics. Whether it’s Maldives or Afghanistan, the Indian team has been criticised and has been called a sub-standard team. The Indian coach was responding to a statement made by the assistant coach of Afghanistan that they were “technically and physically” more superior to the Indians.
Koevermans said, “Obviously, these comments from the opposition will help me motivate the boys and they can produce some extra energy on the field. Hopefully, we will be able to show them that India is a strong side. We will give a fighting reply.”
Regarding the tactics he wanted to apply in the final, he said,” It’s a different team and a different game. It will be a physical game as they are a tough side but our boys are not weak either. Expect a final of high intensity.”
Meanwhile, Izumi Arata had suffered an injury and is not sure whether he will be able to play in final match.
India’s start in the tournament was disappointing with a 1-0 win over Pakistan, thanks to the own goal scored by Pakistan. They drew 1-1 with Bangladesh with the help of a last gasp equalizer from India’s star striker Sunil Chhetri in injury time, after which they suffered a humiliating 1-2 defeat to Nepal. Although, they had put up a much better performance in the semi final against Maldives, defeating them 1-0 thanks to an 86th minute goal from Arnab Mondal.
If India manage to win against Afghanistan, it will be their seventh SAFF Championship title.