SAFF Championship 2013 Semi Finals: India and Maldives face off

AIFF Press Release
SAFF Championship 2013 Semi Finals 2
India vs Maldives
Kick off time: 06:15 PM IST
Live on Star Sports 2

Yellow is bright, synonymous with light. There’s bright sunshine in Kathmandu since the last three days. The dark clouds stay no more; instead white cotton clouds float overhead. Time never stands still. “Past is past.” Tomorrow is a different day; the semifinal is a “different match.”

Yellow is not always bright. If you differ, you can ask Sunil Chhetri. But he’s the Leader, the National Captain. Together with the Senior Players, he has been reminding everyone of “their potential.”

You look at their eyes and you’ll discover belief, the quality which has been a quintessential part of the Indian Teams in recent past. Speak to everyone in the Indian Camp, there’s just one word ahead of the semifinal against Maldives: “Believe.”

National Coach Wim Koevermans states at the Media Interaction. “I won’t comment what others have to say about us. We are focusing on the next match, our Fourth Final.”

For Maldives, it has rained goals -- 18 goals in three matches. The other day a local joked: “It hasn’t rained that much in Kathmandu this year as much as it has rained goals for Maldives.”

‘Will you be able to stop the goal-rush?’ Someone asks Subrata Paul at the Media Interaction at the Police Headquarters ground.

“They have scored 18 goals. But we are not that bad as a Team. But Maldives is not all about Ali Ashfaq. He is a Great Player no doubt but they are a very dangerous unit.”

When reminded about Ali Ashfaq’s comment that this is the “weakest-ever Indian Team,” Subrata smiles innocently. “It’s his opinion. We are not looking back at history. Instead, we prefer to concentrate on the semifinal.”

Maldives’ Coach Istvan Urbanyi says: “India keep on fighting till the end. They scored two late goals in the last two matches. It shows the quality of their side.”

At the Police Headquarters Ground, Koevermans demands “quality stuff.”

“We are happy we have a bit of rest prior to the semifinal. There’s more energy in the squad at the moment,” he quips. Thereafter, the practice session is conducted to perfection.

“We don’t underestimate any Team. They can. Let them,” Alwyn George pronounces.

His India U-22 Teammate Jeje Lalpekhlua adds: “We are ready for the challenge. The Coach has certain instructions for us. We will abide by that.”

Will Sunil be missed? Subrata Paul smiles again. “He is a Great Player. But there’s no point in crying. We have a strong bench and others stay ready to fill in the void.”

The born Leader in Sunil, nevertheless, talks to everyone and cheer them up. “I know what we are capable of. It’s the semifinal and it’s another match, a different one,” he utters.

You roam around in the Camp and discover belief; you roam around in the Camp and discover confidence, you roam around in the Camp and discover teamwork.

The kick-off against Maldives on Monday (September 9) is at IST 6.15 PM(Live and Exclusive on Star Sports 2).
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About Debraj Banerjee

Hi, I am Debraj Banerjee from Adra, West Bengal. A keen follower of Indian football and always an optimist that the game will get the recognition it truely deserves. What we ask from you is your support and one day the dream might turn true. Fingers crossed for Indian football. Cheers!

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