New Delhi: On cloud nine after India
clinched the SAFF championship title under his coaching,
Sukhwinder Singh has no doubt that his under-23 wards can face
bigger challenge, including the AFC Challenge Cup and Asian
Games, next year.
"It`s a nice feeling. I am very happy for my boys and
this is a proud moment for the country. Boys have done it this
year where we failed last year," he told agency from Dhaka today
before departing for Mumbai.
India defeated Maldives 3-1 via penalty shootout in the
summit clash yesterday to claim their fifth crown.
Last year, a full strength Indian senior side under the
captaincy of Baichung Bhutia had lost to Maldives 0-1 in the
Sukhwinder, who will be in charge of the under-23 side in
the AFC Challenge Cup in February-March in Sri Lanka and 2010
Asian Games in China, said the challenge ahead was tough but
the boys could deliver the results.
"The challenge ahead is tough but these boys can bring
the results considering what they had done in this tournament.
The boys did an extremely wonderful job despite the odds
against them and continued the process of winning. I am very
happy," he said.
The former JCT coach, who was also at the helm of affairs
when India won the SAFF Championship in 1999, said the boys
would be rewarded by the AIFF for winning the title.
"The AIFF had promised Rs 10,000 to each player for
winning every group match and Rs 25,000 for winning the
semifinal against Bangladesh. The team has also got USD 50,000
as winners cheque. May be AIFF would announce more," he said.
He also said that midfielder Jewel Raja, who had to be
taken to a hospital in Dhaka after colliding with a Maldives
player, was fine and there was no need for worry.
"Jewel was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure
and after check up there was nothing serious. He is fit and
fine," said the coach.