Jhingan to lead new-look India team

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Jhingan to lead new-look India team

Similarly, St Kitts & Nevis may not be the most competitive Caribbean team in the world but they were ranked as high as 80 a year ago and can make life hard for a young Indian team. Mauritius is ranked 160th while St Kitts and Nevis is ranked 125th.

"I had spoken to him and told him that the only way to improve is to get into a team where he was likely to be given more playing opportunities". But for a team that has not played a match since June, playing the 160th-ranked team will be good enough, feels Indian coach Stephen Constantine.

"My initial plan was to play one game, close to (the game against) Macau". "But having two teams come here gives us more time and opportunity to try new players".

"The timing of the games is hard. The ongoing camp and this tournament will help us get into the groove at the right time", Constantine said. We have two opponents who will give us different problems and an opportunity for us to re-acquaint. "As soon as they'll show they don't have anything to offer, then they'll go", said the English coach.

Constantine announced that Sandesh Jhinghan will lead the side.

"I have given more than 100 global debuts to players in my career". It's because I believe that they have something to offer. "Sandesh was one such young boy and now he is captain for tomorrow's game", Constantine pointed out.

He said though higher in Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings his side can not be complacent against the two sides in the tournament.

"We are not going to underestimate our opponents", said Constantine, who has chose to hand over captaincy to central defender Sandesh Jhingan for the opener against Mauritius. St Kittts, they are not Jamaica, but they play similar style and have similar sort of philosophy.

"We haven't played together since June. It's going to a tough test for us ahead of the Asian Cup qualifier", he stated during the pre-match press conference on Friday ahead of the series opener against Mauritius.

Though the Mauritius national team has been on the decline in the past few decades, they are trying to revive the sport in the tiny island-nation. That includes two matches in the Asian Cup qualifiers, which has put them in pole position in their four-team group.

Macau will be an altogether different challenge and Constantine would assess the strengths and weaknesses of his side in the these games. "I have a vision for India and that is to try and compete in Asia. We need to qualify for the Asian Cup more often before we think of making it to the World Cup". "We haven't played since June, give 2-3 days to understand each other, it is hard from that perspective", he said. Jackichand, who plays as a winger, said that there is always acute competition among the footballers to make it to the final XI, but then that is not visible prominently. "We can help him in rehabilitation process", he quipped. "It will be a new experience in terms of tactics and playing style", added former Mauritius captain Jonathan Bru also representing the African nation at the media gathering.

"We have been exposed to the African teams and not to the Asian team. We have a World Cup in India everyone is thinking about the world cup, whether we do well or not. but what happens afterwards if important".

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