“India have a number of good players in their ranks including Sandesh Jhingan and Sunil Chhetri,” Curacao Head Coach Remko Bicentini told www.the-aiff.com in an exclusive interview.
A day prior to the Indian Senior Men’s National Team’s King’s Cup opener against a strong Curacao, the rival coach spoke at length about his assessment about Blue Tigers, Curacao’s preparation for the tournament, the strength of his squad, and much more. EXCERPTS:
What is your assessment of the Indian Team, and its players?
The Indian Team has a new Coach on board who will understandably transfer his ideas to the team. A number of good players are currently playing in India including Sandesh Jhingan, and Sunil Chhetri. We will certainly take that into account.
How is your Team preparing for the King's Cup?
We will use the King’s Cup as a platform to prepare for the Gold Cup which is due next in the USA. The King's Cup is a competitive tournament in Thailand. The circumstances here are ideal for training, and hence, we are focussing on getting ready for our next two matches, the first one of which is against India.
What kind of match are you expecting between India and Curacao?
I expect an open competition in our first match against India. We will use this game to try out a number of game elements.
Your team has players from a number of top leagues across Europe. Will we see the top stars take part in the King's Cup?
We have many players who play at the highest level in Europe. They will certainly be playing in this tournament. But at the same time, a number of players who have played of late, will also get a chance to play. We have had a few changes in the basic set-up in the last 2 years. It will be good to see how the other players react. The competition must always be a fierce one.
In 2018, your team remained unbeaten and scored 23 goals in five matches. Will we see a repeat in 2019?
2018 was a good year for us. In the Nations League competition, we scored many goals, lost only one game, and qualified for the elite group which kicks-off in September. From now on, we will play against better opponents, and we would want to score as many goals as possible. But realistically that will not happen.
We are going one level up, so as we have done in the last 3 years, we also have to grow with that. 23 goals in 5 matches is excellent at the International level. But as a coach, I will always be satisfied as long as we score just one goal more than our opponent.