Subrata Paul to lead India against Qatar
New Delhi: India goalkeeper Subrata Paul will be leading the team in Sunday`s international football friendly against Qatar at the Al Sadd Stadium in Doha.
The match is second friendly after the one with the Maldives to prepare the India team for the first round World cup qualifiers against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) later this month. India face the UAE in the first leg in Abu Dhabi July 23 and will host them in New Delhi July 28.
Paul, who earned accolades in the Asian Cup, will be the first goalkeeper since Atanu Bhattacharya to lead a national side in an international match. Bhattacharya captained India in the Nehru Cup in Trivandrum in 1986.
"On one side it`s just another match in the life of a footballer. On the other side, it`s an honour which every player dreams of - an inspiration to do better," Paul, who is rated among the best in Asia, said in a statement.
"My dream is to serve my country to the best of my abilities and as long as possible," he said.
India coach Armando Colaco, who insists on having rotating captaincy, said that the boys have adjusted to his style of play.
"There are a lot of promising players in the squad. Initially it was a bit difficult but the boys are adapting to my style of play. Football is all about enjoying on the field," Armando said.
"This is our last match before the big test -- the World Cup Qualifier against UAE. I want to take one match at a time but at the same time wouldn`t mind trying out some variations against Qatar," he said.