Get breaking news alerts from myKhel

SAFF Cup 2018: It will be an experience playing India: Pakistan coach Nogueira

Pakistan, returning to International football after a three-year hiatus, will start as the underdogs to a young Indian team at the semifinals of the SAFF Suzuki Cup, on Wednesday. Credit: AIFF

Dhaka, September 11: Head Coach José Antonio Nogueira who has taken over the reins of the Pakistan football team after their long absence from International football has set his focus to catch up with India in next 2-3 years and "overtake them (India) to claim the pole position in the SAFF region."

SAFF Cup 2018 Semifinal, India vs Pakistan: Preview, When and Where to Watch on TV, Date and Time | SAFF Cup 2018: India vs Pakistan is primarily a psychological battle, feels former captain Venkatesh

"Undoubtedly, India are the numero uno in the region. Coming back from a three-year long hiatus, we are nowhere close to them. My first target is to close the gap in the next 2-3 years. We'll then set the target to conquer the region," Nogueira told AIFF.

Pakistan meet India in the semi-finals of the SAFF Suzuki Cup on Wednesday (September 12) and Nogueira said that the team is eagerly looking forward for the match. "It's going to be my first experience of an India-Pakistan match but I have been well acquainted with this sort of rivalry. But we have to concentrate on our game and stick to the plans to churn out a positive result. It will be a great experience for me and my team when we play India in the semis," Nogueira, who has earlier coached Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and St. Kitts and Nevis, said.

"We will gain some invaluable experience from those 90 minutes. India have achieved some major feats to reach the next level. I feel the experience which India gather playing against the opponents like Japan or maybe a South Korea, we'll get against them (India)."

The coach, who has followed Indian football closely, described the exposure tours to the Indian age-group national teams as a "very positive development." "India have laid down a blueprint and have worked relentlessly so far to execute it. Before the FIFA U17 World Cup, the team had travelled to Brazil for an exposure trip. Even the World Cup was so immaculately conducted," he stated.

"Arranging exposure trips for the age-group teams, playing quality opponents often are some of the good things which have happened to Indian Football recently. The upsurge in the FIFA Ranking is the perfect synergy of these efforts," he maintained.

Meanwhile, talking about the challenges his job has thrown at him, the Pakistan coach, said, "I knew this job will be a very challenging one but as a coach, it's my duty to accept it. It was like of coming out from zero and restarting the system. Building a national team is not a magic. But the players have responded well so far."

"We had the PFF Cup and 65 players were selected from there. Since then, we shortlisted 32 and flew to Jakarta to compete in the Asian Games. We had some really tough games against Japan, Vietnam before landing here," he signed off.

Meanwhile, on the eve of the semifinal, Pakistan skipper Saddam Hossain said that the Indian youngsters have "enough potential and intelligence." "We have immense respect for India. They have come with a young team but we have seen their athletic prowess during the group stage. They have enough potential and intelligence to outplay their opponents on a given day," Hossain said.

Match is scheduled to kick-off at 7:00pm IST 7pm

Live on D Sport

Source: AIFF

For Quick Alerts
Subscribe Now
For Quick Alerts
ALLOW NOTIFICATIONS
For Daily Alerts

    Story first published: Tuesday, September 11, 2018, 18:06 [IST]
    Other articles published on Sep 11, 2018
    + More
    POLLS
    We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This includes cookies from third party social media websites and ad networks. Such third party cookies may track your use on Mykhel sites for better rendering. Our partners use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on Mykhel website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Learn more