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5 positive takeaways from India's Intercontinental Cup triumph.

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

The All India Football Federation ( AIFF) organized the Intercontinental Cup this year at Odhisha and invited teams like Lebanon, Mongolia, and Vanuatu in preparation for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup the biggest tournament to be played among the top qualifying nations in January 2024. India started the tournament by playing against Mongolia, winning by 2 goals from Sahal and Chhangte. Next came Vanuatu in which game the Vanuatu defenders kept frustrating the Indian forwards by mostly playing defensive and denying open chance to score a goal. But at last, it was legend Sunil Chettri who scored a beautiful goal from a volley. The third match was against Lebanon, the only tough fixture for India which India drew 0-0 after bottling two great opportunities to score. India and Lebanon both qualified for the final in which India won by 2-0 goals thanks to Sunil Chettri and Chhangte.

5 positive takeaways from the tournament.

1. Better build-up football.

India showed better build-up football in this tournament than what we used to watch previously. Thanks to the more technical players we have now and even full-backs, the best ball-playing center-back (Anwar Ali) is probably in India's history. Also, credit goes to often criticized National team head coach Igor Stimac as he has been able to implement the passing and build-up philosophy in the Indian National team which it never had before.

2. Defensive Record :

Team India won this tournament without conceding a single goal. Moreover, India has maintained 6 consecutive clean sheets at home which shows how solid the center-back pairing of Anwar Ali and Sandesh Jinghan has been.

3. "Key Players" :

  • Naorem Mahesh:

This season Indian football has really received great talent in its attack. Through splendid performance at the wings and at midfield, Mahesh has probably permanently booked his spot in the Indian National team. His strength is he can operate with the same quality on both the flanks and also has a creative spark which is heavily needed for the Indian NT forward line.

  • Anwar Ali :

As a center back his clearance ability within the box is top notch as well as his ball-playing ability from the back which modern coaches often demand for buil-up football. Since cruffian football became popular in the world, Indian National Team never had this good ball-playing center-back.

  • Chhangte :

The Mizo flash is surely living up to his hype after such a wonderful domestic football season he had. He rediscovered himself in club football this season but when it's the National team it's a totally different ball game. Still performed fabulously in this tournament and bagged an assist and a goal in the final against Lebanon.

4. Better Management from AIFF :

The new AIFF management is surely taking good care of the National team from providing data analyst to the head coach to appointing a sports psychologist for the players in the camp. The effect was clearly visible in the performance of the team in the tournament and the way they performed against Lebanon. Also, the newly appointed technical committee has been doing wonders when it comes to fixing schedules for the National Team as well as Youth development.

5. Odisha Government's hospitality :

The most important part of this tournament is how the Odhisha government helped the AIFF to successfully host this tournament. The Indian NT head coach was all praise for the government for how well they took care of the details of accommodation, food, diet, recovery, and training facilities for all the National Teams.

The train tragedy that happened in Odhisha recently might have reduced the crowd pull for the group stage matches but the fan's turnout for the final was ecstatic and a positive sign that Indian football is growing.



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