SAFF Championship 2013: India face Nepal in a crucial tie

India vs Nepal
Kick Off at 3:15 PM IST
Dasrath Stadium, Nepal
Live and Exclusive on Star Sports 2
There’s a knock at the door and Subrata Paul steps in. “Can I watch the match?” he asks the Video Analyst. As the match was being transferred to Subrata Paul’s external hard disk, two more step in together -- Mohanraj Nallappan and Mehtab Hossain. Both pull chairs, sit beside and watch.
 
“A Footballer’s life is all about those 90 minutes. But every Team needs a bit of luck. We have been so distinctly unlucky in the last two matches. We should have scored at least 10 goals by now. But that’s Football!” Mehtab quips.
 
Mohanraj, leaning on Mehtab’s shoulder and unwilling to shift his eye elsewhere utters: “It’s all about Teamwork. There can be no slip-ups against Nepal.” Subrata nods. Mehtab and Mohanraj exchange a high-five.
 
“Across the World a packed Stadium defines Football. The atmosphere at the Dasrath Stadium is just wonderful. Obviously the home support will be an extra help for Nepal. But that’s how it goes,” National Coach Wim Koevermans pronounces.
 
“Playing every alternate day will have its effect. Players often carry that fatigue into the next match and the energy tank gets empty. But the Medical Team is working 24x7,” he adds.
 
India Team prepares for Nepal Challenge, Picture Courtesy: www.the-aiff.com
As the Indian Team had their recovery session at the Police Headquarters Ground on Wednesday (August 4), Francis Fernandes spent time with Team physio Gigi George. Francis received a knock in the first half against Bangladesh.
 
“Unless you score there’s every chance that you will suffer in the end. A lot of Players had their chances but were unable to find the back of the net. Sometimes it just doesn’t matter as to how the Team played,” Koevermans states.
 
“It’s our third Final and we are ready for it. It will be a tough match and though there are a lot of equations involved, we are not getting into it,” he quips.
 
At present India are on 4 points (+1) while Nepal are also on 4 points (+2). The other two Teams, Pakistan (-1) and Bangladesh (-2) are on one point each. A win or a draw will take India into the semifinal. But if India lose and Pakistan simultaneously beat Bangladesh, India will still go through on Head to Head equation. However, if India lose and Bangladesh beat Pakistan, the equation comes into play.
 
"Every Player dreams of playing in front of a Full House. The entire squad is looking forward to the clash against Nepal,” Robin Singh maintained at the Official Media Interaction. “We are backing each other and along with it our potential.”
 
Dawson Fernandes nullified there’s any pressure on India. “There’s always a pressure on the Home Team when you have a packed Stadium as expectations run high. This is the best phase of my career so far and I need to improve with every day,” Dawson informed.
 
From the time the Indian team has landed in Kathmandu, Indian Captain Sunil Chhetri has been cynosure of all eyes. The locals love clicking with him, having a chat with him and asking for autographs.
 
Even as Nirmal Chhetri and Syed Rahim Nabi were having a chat with Nepal’s Players at one corner of the Hotel Lobby, a Front Office Executive at the Hotel quipped: “Sunil is back among goals. That’s an ominous sign for us.”
 
Chhetri shook his head. “It’s all about Teamwork. We have been backing each other and need to stick together. Together we buildup, together we defend, together we score,” he states.
 
The intercom rings. Chhetri has been summoned for the massage.
 
The kick-off at the Dasrath Stadium on September 5 is at IST 3.15pm (Live and Exclusive telecast on Star Sports 2).
 
THE EQUATION:
 
  • India and Nepal are on 4 points each.
  • A draw will see both Teams going through to the semifinal.
  • If India win, they top Group A and proceed to semis.
  • If India lose and Pakistan beat Bangladesh in the other match, India will still go through to the semifinal on Head to Head.
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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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