Doha, May 26 (IANS) The Indian football team is not here for next month’s FIFA World Cup Qualifiers to just “make up the numbers”, but to make a mark, midfielder Anirudh Thapa pointed out on Wednesday.
The Sunil Chhetri-led Indian team will play its opening game against Qatar on June 3, followed by matches against Bangladesh and Afghanistan on June 7 and 15, respectively.
“We understand that Qatar are eagerly looking forward to the match. But we know that we will try to do well on the field. We don’t want to be disappointed. We are not there to make up the numbers. We are confident in our abilities and we are taking it one match at a time,” said Thapa ahead of a training session on Wednesday.
Thapa, who plays for Indian Super League (ISL) side Chennaiyin FC, said playing for the nation is a different feeling altogether and he shared his feelings with the youngsters.
“The setup in the national team is a different feeling altogether. Starting from the pride to the game sense to the tempo and intensity of the training sessions, and eventually the matches — whatever I have learnt, I share with them [youngsters]. At the end [of the day], we are representing 1.4 billion people and they are never to be let down,” he said.
On whether he has reached his peak, Thapa said: “I never feel so. There is still a long way to go for me and I need to improve on a whole lot of aspects. I need to convert more chances and I need to adapt to the changing playing circumstances that arise during matches.”