India ready to take on Bangladesh in friendly tie, says Wim Koevermans

PTI| Updated: Mar 03, 2014, 22:51 PM IST

Margao: National football coach Wim Koevermans today said that the Indian team would give a tough fight to Bangladesh in a friendly match scheduled to be played at Nehru stadium Fatorda here on Wednesday.

"The boys are in good shape and there is no injury problem. Bangladesh is a tough opponent and we respect them and expect a close fight," Koevermans said.

"We played against them (Bangladesh) in SAFF Cup Championship last year in Nepal and drew against them. They scored the first goal and we found the equaliser in the dying minutes. Now they will come hard on us to take revenge but we will try our best to win the match to lift the morale of the team," he added.

Koevermans joined the team in ongoing practise session here, while key players like Sunil Chhetri and Robin Singh, who arrived last evening, joined the session on the second day today.

"Football in India has changed a lot in recent times with tough competition in the I-League. A lowly Rangadejied United has defeated top team Bengaluru FC in the ongoing I-League. It`s good feeling to see that standard of football is going up," the coach said.

Koevermans said the Indian squad needs more youngsters despite the presence of players such as Denzil Franco, Vitorino Fernandes and Lenny Rodrigues.

The youngsters are excited about the prospects of playing on the home ground.

"This is the first time I may get to play for the national team in Goa. The possibility of representing my country on my home ground makes me excited," said Fernandes.

Franco, who plays for Churchill Brothers, said he would miss his father, who passed away last month.

"But my other family members would be coming and cheering...We need a good crowd," said Denzil, who stays in Saligao near Calungute beach.

Rodrigues, who was adjudged the best midfielder in I-League, was also elated with Goa hosting the match, as was Francis Fernandes.

"I play a lot of club matches in Goa throughout the year. But an international friendly doesn`t happen every week. Having the possibility of wearing the national jersey in front of your near and dear ones is a sentiment which cannot be expressed," Francis said.