Mumbai: Despite being one of the seniors of the India squad, Jackichand Singh still learns quite a bit from full-time captain Sunil Chhetri.
Jackichand, who is currently with the Indian football team in Mumbai, had his status as one of the senior players further elevated due to the absence of the likes of Chhetri and star goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
Jackichand was all praises for Chhetri, when asked about how the team benefits from the nimble forward’s presence.
“We get to learn a lot from Sunil Chhetri. He gives us a lot of tips off the field as well,” Jackichand said on the sidelines of the Indian football team’s practice session, at the Andheri Sports Complex, in Mumbai, on Thursday. “What to eat, what to do, things like that. So we benefit a lot from that.”
The Indian football team coaching staff has identified a large pool of players, whom to select the final squad for the international fixtures, over the last few years, something that has helped the side climb into the top 100 spots in the FIFA rankings.
Although this policy has created some level of competition amongst the players, Jackichand believes that the core unity of the side is its strength.
“There is some level of competition between the players, but it all depends on the coach. Whoever works hard, and shows the desired results, they get the chance,” he said. “We all work hard together. The juniors, the seniors are all together in this. That is our strength.”
However, the Tri-nation tournament, in which India have been pitted against lower ranked sides St Kitts (125) and Mauritius (160) provides an opportunity for head coach Stephen Constantine to try out some of the players, who generally find them on the fringes of the first team squad.
Despite the absence of a few key players, though, Jackichand believes that the Tri-nation tournament will serve as a good opportunity for India to prepare for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifier against Macau, on September 5.
“We are preparing for the (AFC Asian Cup) qualifiers, and a good performance here will put us in a good position against Macau,” Jackichand signed off....