Vietnam friendship important for players ahead of AFC Asian Cup: Bhaichung Bhutia
Former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia is excited about India’s tour of Vietnam and feels the matches there can help the team ahead of the Asian Cup. Two friendly matches are scheduled on 24 September and 27 September. The Blue Tigers have traveled to Vietnam to play the Hung Thinh friendly football tournament against Singapore and hosts Vietnam. Twenty years ago, Bhutia was the captain when India won the historic 2002 LG Cup in Vietnam. Bhutia said the ongoing two-match tour would be a good opportunity for the Indian team to prepare ahead of next year’s Asian Cup.
“I think it’s great for our national team that they’re going to play some matches there. I think it’s going to be a good tour. Vietnam is a very good team. Singapore is too. It’s a must-see for the players. It’s going to be a useful experience,” Bhutia said.
Earlier this week, the AIFF Executive Committee backed the technical committee’s recommendation to extend the contract of senior men’s team head coach Igor Stimac till the end of the Asian Cup.
The former Blue Tigers striker feels that the extension will give both the players and the coach the necessary time to build up the team chemistry.
“It’s a very sensible decision taken by the committee as we don’t have much time left before we get into the battle for the Asian Cup. The extension will help the coaches and players feel more comfortable and help them build on it. They have been doing it for the last three-four years.
“Hopefully I think the preparation for this match and the Asia Cup will be much better now,” Bhutia said.
Also, Bhutia has urged everyone in the Indian football community to treat the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup with “the highest priority”.
The 16-team championship, where India are placed in Group A along with the US, Morocco and Brazil, is knocking on India’s door and will begin on October 11, 20 days from now.
“The U-17 World Cup is a priority right now and very important. Everyone is expecting some credible performances from our girls. I think it should be given top priority as it starts in the next few weeks, ‘ said the former captain.
“The girls will now have to play a few matches against good teams before the start of the World Cup. This will give them the necessary motivation,” he said. Bhutia also urged all football fans to join and support the event.
“I think this is a great opportunity for our girls in the U-17 team. Fans should come in large numbers to the stadium and support the team,” he said.
Bhutia said the six key players on the executive committee would bring a lot of experience.
“We all should work for the development of Indian football. We are here for just that. I would like to thank the Supreme Court for conferring this honor on all the six players because I believe we have a lot of experience.” can bring and provide the right advice for the improvement of football,” he said.
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