Stephen Constantine, India’s national football team coach, has announced goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu as captain for tomorrow’s friendly against Puerto Rico at the Andheri Sports Complex ground in Mumbai.
“Gurpreet Singh Sandhu will captain the team tomorrow against Puerto Rico,” he was quoted as saying at the end of the pre-match media conference to give a huge psychological boost to the prolific shot stopper, thus becoming one of the youngest players to lead the national football team.
Notably, Gurpreet is the only Indian who plays professional football in Europe with Stabaek FC in Norway, and he takes place of ace striker Sunil Chhetri.
The game against the CONCACAF rivals gives a chance to the national team to climb the FIFA ranking. They are currently ranked 152 as compared to Puerto Rico’s 114, and this would be the national team’s fifth international game this year.
“They are a good side with many good players. Yeah, one may mention about their landing timing in Mumbai but you cannot take away their quality. Can you ? Puerto Rico were one of the best movers in the FIFA Rankings. They are a very organised side. They love to keep the ball and play it around. They are technically very good. Once they are around the box they are very dangerous. Against USA they split open the rival defence with three touches,” said Constantine.
“We are trying to build a pool of players who would represent India for the next 6-7 years. In fact, we already have built a sizeable group but there will be additions. Today there is a healthy competition for each of the slots.” he added.
Constantine also praised Gurpreet’s attitude because he’s stuck in Norway, despite there being doubts over his decision to ply his trade abroad.