The Indian national football team's goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu wants his team to be 'respectful and ruthless' in beating the lower ranked teams in their quest to qualify for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.
India (ranked 106) will kick-off their qualifying campaign on June 8 as they are paired with Hong Kong (ranked 147), Afghanistan (ranked 150) and Cambodia (ranked 171) in group D of the qualifiers.
Ahead of these games, Sandhu wants his team to keep their feet on the ground as he told AIFF's official website, "Every draw in modern-day football is a tricky one. We need to be respectful towards our opponents.
“Obviously, they have also been preparing for these three matches, and it’s understandable that they have done their homework much like us.
“We can’t take anyone lightly not at this stage because the stakes are high. Even as much as we need to respect the teams we play, we need to be ruthless in our approach.” After kicking off their campaign against Cambodia, India next take on Afghanistan (June 11) and Hong Kong (June 14)."
24 teams will compete for 11 final spots for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup in six groups to be held at different venues throughout Asia.
Six first ranked teams in the groups and five best runners-up will make it to the showpiece AFC Asian Cup next year.
“We need to make sure we go out there to get the result. I believe we should be the one team that earns a ticket to the AFC Asian Cup 2023 from this group,” Gurpreet said.
“It is that place where we want to be again and again, and every four years. It’s a stepping stone for us. If we do well in the Asian Cup, there are more chances of us doing better at the World Cup Qualifiers,” he concluded.