The Indian Football Team’s 2-1 victory over Mauritius last night at the Tri Nations Series held in Mumbai, marks the nation’s 9th consecutive victory. The visitors scored an early goal in the 15th minute, but it was Robin Singh’s equaliser that levelled the match in the 37th minute. Balwant Singh took the lead for the hosts after coming in the from the bench later in the second half of the match. And while Head Coach, Stephen Constantine in the press conference talked about India’s winning streak, he mentioned that it would all be for nothing if India fails to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup 2019 Tournament.
The team was led by Sandesh Jinghan, who was given the captain’s armband in absence of Sunil Chettri. The talismanic captain has a personal record of scoring 54 international goals, a hallmark achievement alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Currently ranked at 97th in the FIFA World Rankings, India recently dropped one place from 96th, its highest ranking ever in more than two decades. Although they are out of the qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, they are currently the favourites and leading the table in their Group to qualify for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. The other teams in the group are Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan and Macau.
As far as the Tri Nations Series is concerned, India will be facing Saint Kitts and Nevis on 24th August, giving enough time for Constantine and his men to prepare for the AFC qualifying match against Macau on the 5th September 2017. The past two AFC qualifying matches were both won by a narrow 1-0 victory with Sunil Chettri netting the ball twice against Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan respectively.
The U-17 FIFA World Cup Tournament is also scheduled to be held this October in India, with all eyes on the host nations young team. The opening game of the tournament is between India and USA, while Columbia and Ghana have also been placed alongside the host nation.