We’re no more intimidated by higher-ranked teams: Pritam Kotal

New Delhi, Aug 16 (PTI) Indian football team’s defensive mainstay Pritam Kotal says they no more get intimidated while facing higher-ranked sides. Fresh from winning the Intercontinental Cup and the SAFF Championship, the Igor Stimac-coached Blue Tigers have a crammed international calendar with the King’s Cup, Asian Games, Merdeka Cup and the continental showpiece AFC Asian Cup lined up later this year.

In the Asian Cup, India, who are ranked 18th in Asia, and find themselves in a tough draw along side Australia (AFC ranked third), Uzbekistan (10th) and Syria (14th).

“See now, the mindset of the players have changed a lot,” Kotal, who has 52 caps for the Blue Tigers, said in a recent episode of ‘In the Stands’.

“Whoever we play, we will not be intimidated. We will go face to face and fight. Be it Australia, Uzbekistan, or Syria. This, I am telling you today,” said Kotal, who led Mohun Bagan to their maiden ISL title last season.

Kotal has been one of the standout stars in the ISL.

He was the All India Football Federation Emerging Player of the Year in 2015. He is a three-time ISL title winner, one-time I-League champion, part of two-time Hero Intercontinental Cup winning side, and has been a part of the SAFF Championship victorious squad thrice.

However, nothing matches the challenge that the national side will face in the forthcoming AFC Asian Cup and Kotal reiterated that the players will leave no stone unturned in giving their all on the pitch.

“As players, we are confident that we will do something different this year. And we will try to do that both individually, and as a team as well as when we start the camps.

“We will have the King’s Cup, Merdeka Cup, and a few friendlies. So I just want to tell the fans to stick with us. Support the Indian team,” he said.

Kotal attributed their change in mindset to quality training and exposure in the ISL.

“The quality of the training has changed, and even the players now know what they are supposed to do according to who they are playing against.

“And for me, whenever we play in the ISL, whichever foreigner is there in front of us, we play without fear. This is a new development that whoever is in front of us, we will compete,” he added.

Source: PTI News


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