India leap to 96 in Fifa rankings

NEW DELHI: India football team coach Stephen Constantine on Thursday cautioned his boys against getting carried away by the recent leapfrog in Fifa rankings which has placed India at their second-best position so far of 96th.
“There is always the next game which comes to your mind. So it’s not always possible to enjoy the moment. That’s how life is as you are always trying to get better. People may be tempted to go crazy with the recent rise in Rankings and the results, but we cannot get carried away,” Constantine was quoted as saying by All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) official website.
India, who were ranked 100 last month ahead of wins over Nepal in an international friendly and against Kyrgyzstan in the Asian Cup qualifiers, had their previous best of 94th coming in February 1996. India are now 12th in Asia.
“I have always had an emotional attachment with India. Having said that, 2015 was the first year after the Indian Super League was launched. I could foresee a change coming as Indian Football had itself decided that it needed to change. I felt that I could help them go forward. Luckily, Mr (Praful) Patel also thought the same,” Constantine said.
India have won 12 of their last 14 matches — including an unofficial friendly against Bhutan. They have, in the process, jumped 77 places up the Fifa rankings ladder.
“If you look at the current team that started in our last two matches against the Kyrgyz Republic and Nepal, seven from the first XI have been introduced through a process in the last two years,” Constantine said.
“That’s what satisfies me — the immense progress that the boys are making. I did the same thing in Rwanda, Malawi, Sudan, Nepal and even the first time I coached India,” he added.
In the Asian Cup 2019 qualifiers, India have begun with consecutive victories over Myanmar away and Kyrgyzstan at home in Group A. Sunil Chhetri and co. face Macau away on September 5. — IANS