Kochi, Feb 5: India captain Sunil Chhetri said the transition from club to international football will be crucial as his team takes on Palestine in a friendly here Wednesday.
The Sporting Lisbon striker said that all his boys are coming straight into the match from I-league without any injuries.
“It’s very positive. All my colleagues who have headed straight into Kochi from the I-League aren’t carrying any injuries. That’s important. Injuries would have hampered our training, especially given the fact that we are going into the match after just two full sessions. But despite that, we stay optimistic,” he said.
Chhetri said the Palestine tie would help the team gear up well for the AFC Challenge qualifiers.
“We need to have the same momentum which we had during the Nehru Cup – right from our first match against Syria to the final — which we won against Cameroon. We stuck to our plan and stood beside each other – both on and off the field. Sticking together stays the plan even now. Apart from the Palestine friendly, I’m eagerly looking forward to the camp in Pune for the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers,” he said.
Asked about his assessment of Palestine, Chhetri said: “We haven’t seen much of them but have watched some videos. If you look at their last tournament, the West Asia Cup (December 2012), they had a fairly good result. They were clubbed with Oman, Kuwait and Lebanon and had some good results.”
“You need to remember that they are ranked higher than us and it will be a tough match for us. But at the same time, we play at home and how we react to the challenge will be crucial.”