Yangon: Despite India struggling for form in the two international friendlies after the Nehru Cup triumph last year, national football coach Wim Koevermans feels his wards can taste success in the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers, which begins here on Saturday.
"We aim to win every match we play and it is no different for AFC Challenge Cup. We have had a good camp for the tournament in Pune. We landed here early to acclimatise to the conditions and the boys have responded well," Koevermans said at the pre-tournament press conference.
"Indians are very proud when it comes to the national team. We are expected to win every match. We have a huge responsibility," he said.
India, the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup winners, won their third straight Nehru Cup title in August last year but lost both their international friendlies -- against Singapore (0-2) in October and Palestine (2-4) early this month.
"There are a lot of young players in India who have the capability to play at the highest level. This is a test for them as much it`s a chance for me to assess their performance and how they react," the Dutchman said.
Chinese Taipei coach Chen Kuel Jen said the tournament would see a tough competition.
"We have had a preparatory camp for 40 days and we are satisfied with the sessions. All the teams are equally strong," he said.
"We play to a different style nowadays. There are a whole lot of new players from the lot which played in the EAFF Championship in December 2012. We will try our best to qualify," Jen said.
India open their campaign against Chinese Taipei tomorrow followed by matches against Guam and hosts Myanmar on March 4 and March 6 respectively. Twenty countries have been divided into five groups of four with the quartet playing against each other in a one-round league in a centralised venue.
The five group winners and two best second-placed teams will join host nation Maldives at the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup finals.
First Published: Friday, March 01, 2013, 19:07