Dubai, Nov 12 (IANS) Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri feels the side needs to convert their chances in front of goal when they take on Afghanistan in a World Cup qualifier in Dushanbe on Thursday.
India missed a flurry of chances against Bangladesh in Kolkata last month and settled for a 1-1 draw. Before that they held Asian champions Qatar to a famous 0-0 draw in Doha. India lost to Oman 1-2 in Guwahati in their campaign opener.
“We are creating chances. But that’s not enough. We have to try our best to convert them and try to be a tougher unit while defending. We have missed against Bangladesh and we need to pull up our socks against Afghanistan. At the end of the day, if we can do better on the pitch, we’ll be happier,” Chhetri said.
India head coach Igor Stimac warned that they cannot take their foot off the pedal against the Afghans and it is a must win game for them.
“We have a steep task in Dushanbe and we have to overcome that. We can’t afford to slip at any cost. Winning against Afghanistan is the only thing that is going on in our mind now. It will not come to us, rather we need to go and snatch it. It’s always about us and our performance to achieve something,” Stimac said.
The Croatian coach further praised the facility in Dubai where the team put emphasis on maintaining “the shape” in Tuesday’s session followed by routine warm-up regimes.
“The facility has been fantastic and we had another productive session on turf before reaching Dushanbe. We have mainly worked on the shape which will be of utmost importance against Afghanistan,” coach Igor Stimac expressed following the training session in the gulf city.
Earlier, the boys took part in short passing sessions while strength and conditioning coach Luka Radman worked on a few players’ muscle recovery.
“Boys are looking focused and that’s most important before hitting the ground. We have taken good care of ourselves and Professor (Luka Radman) is working on the players’ recovery,” the 52-year-old coach maintained.
“We had come here before and would be happy coming back again. The facility has been superb and this particular session is surely going to help us gel well before hitting the ground on 14th,” Pronay Halder added.