New Delhi: India summed up another dismal performance as they were held 0-0 by neighbours Nepal in an international friendly encounter in Pune. With Asian giants Iran waiting next in a crucial World Cup qualifier on 8th September, India have plenty of catching to do in terms of at least displaying a fight on the field.
India's move from head coach Wim Koevermans to Stephen Constantine this year hasn't really improved the overall game any further. Under Constantine's second spell, India have produced a solitary win against Nepal back in January this year. Since then they have faced two draws and losses a piece.
After the match against Nepal on Monday, Constantine was left to rue India's inability to finish the chances that were created. Playing several players in newer positions and having a look at the team, Constantine chose a method of experimentation, rather than playing a team that would be ideal for Iran. A single friendly game doesn't help before such a pivotal clash.
The coach has cited recently the team is in a re-building phase but clearly there haven't been any improvements. He needs to identify an unit that can come together and create something more with important clashes ahead starting with the Iran team. Constantine doesn't have much time.
Youngster Rowlin Borges and Pronoy Halder impressed with their performances, but the lack of a killer instinct upfront in goal is a major issue. Both Sunil Chhetri and Robin Singh's failure to find the net is a matter of concern with Iran looming over next week.
India's performance in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers have been dismal so far after losses to Guam and Oman. Iran will provide a much better outlook on where Constantine is going with his plans.
Also the AIFF needs to get the team playing friendlies against quality oppositions, rather than lining up same old South Asian teams. Also the number of matches need to be increased drastically making use of the international window. With a dismal 156th position in the FIFA rankings, India have plenty of catching up to do as the money-hit governing body needs to find a way to cater better facilities and opportunities.
Fans are hoping the second season of Indian Soccer league will help to provide more experience for the Indian players with the presence of experienced international veterans of the game.