Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 2:
Afghanistan football coach Petar Segrt on Saturday said they are not taking India lightly as the two teams head into the SAFF Championship final at the Trivandrum International Stadium here on Sunday.
“The Indian team is very strong and I have the utmost respect of their coach, players and all the staff. We will not take them lightly. Both teams are in the final to win and it will be a new day for both teams,” said Segrt.
The tactician added that the hosts playing in front of a vociferous crowd will make things difficult for his side.
“India will make it difficult for us. They have the players to do so and the crowd will be also cheering for them,” he said.
Segrt said that if Afghanistan have to pull this one off, they would have to give their hundred percent.
“If we have to win tomorrow against India, we need to be focused and will have to give out cent-percent on the pitch,” explained Segrt, who was linked to the Germany Under-21 job prior to taking up as Afghanistan’s head coach.
Both India and Afghanistan are undefeated in the tournament and with 90 minutes separating the teams from claiming the coveted trophy, tensions will be running high.
“This is what matters. The final is what matters. Nobody cares if we won all our games in the group stages. The final is what we came for and we have to win it for the people of Afghanistan,” Segrt said.
He also praised the hosts and their coach Stephen Constantine for the work they have put in.
“At the same time, I saw the work rate of the Indian players and it is tremendous. They will give us a hard time on the pitch without a shadow of doubt. India can be proud of their national team. They are compact and have a very good coach who knows how to run proceedings.” (IANS)