Soca Warriors’ opponents preview: India

On Sunday August 21st Trinidad and Tobago’s national football team would play a friendly international versus India. This would be the Soca Warriors’ first match since being knocked out of the early stages of the Caribbean Cup almost 9 months ago. New head coach Otto Pfister’s would use this game as a warm up match for the upcoming CONCACAF Zone World Cup Qualifiers beginning on September 5th and an opportunity to see his locally based players in action (see Soca Warriors’ squad here). For the build up to the game, which would be analyzed by Firststopper.com, a colleague of mine Justin Jose, an Indian football fan and coach, has written a synopsis on the team from the sub-continent.

TEAM INDIA

“+ONE India Caribbean Tour 2011″ is a brilliant opportunity for the Indian national team to play against some higher ranked teams. This foreign exposure trip is all about providing the players with a new challenge and to prepare the team for the upcoming AFC Challenge Cup which is a pathway to the AFC Asian Cup for smaller Asian nations. After a small tussle between the AIFF and I-League clubs, players have been released for national team duty.  The Indian national team coach, Armando Colaco who has recently been given an extension on his contract will be hoping to continue his impressive progress with the national side.

SQUAD

Goalkeepers
Subrata Pal, Karanjit Singh, Laxmikant Kattimani

Defenders
Raju Eknath Gaikwad, Mahesh Gawli, Debabrata Roy, Gouramangi Moirangthem Singh, Rowilson Rolando Rodrigues, Robert Lalthlamuana, Sameer Subash Naik, Valeriano Joseph Rebello

Midfielders
Steven Benedic Dias, Mehtab Hossain, Climax Lawrence, Clifford Reyes Miranda, Syed Rahim Nabi, Peter Carvalho, Lalrindika Ralte, Rocus Lamare

Forwards
Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua, C.S Sabeeth, Chongtham Sushil Kumar Singh

POTENTIAL STARTING LINEUP

Potential starting lineup?

PLAYING STYLE

Armando Colaco is a firm believer of possession football and is slowly implementing his style of play which bought him significant success with his old club Dempo SC onto the national team. It was refreshing to see India trying to keep the ball rather than the usual “hoof-it & run” style in the recent 2014 World Cup Qualifiers against UAE. Under Colaco’s regime the team has also been working a lot on set-pieces.

TACTICS

Colaco prefers to use an organized 4-4-2 formation with one of the strikers dropping deep to play between the opposition midfield and defensive lines.

STRENGTHS

  • Inspirational front two – Team India will trying to maintain possession and get the ball to forwards Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lalpekhlua who they would towards to provide moments of magic.
  • Long throws – Raju Gaikwad’s long throws can trouble any defenses which fail to ideally prepare for them.
  • Spirit – Team India will definitely not lack fighting spirit and will definitely be up to give their all in this encounter.

WEAKNESSES

  • Defensive fragility – The defense often loses composure when put under pressure and is guilty of ball watching at times.
  • Giving up fouls in dangerous areas – Tough tackling Mehtab Hossain along with the members of the defense usually concede needless free-kicks in areas right outside the penalty box.
  • Goalkeeper – The over confidence and temperament of goalkeeper Subrata Pal can backfire at times.

KEY PLAYERS

Sunil Chhetri – The former Kansas City Wizards forward is definitely the star player to look out for. He is a clinical finisher, possesses excellent ball control and even though of a slight frame, he is strong in the air.

Jeje Lalpekhlua – The youngster from Mizoram is the best young talent in India. The diminutive Jeje has a lot of pace and can cause problems with his movement. His flicks and individual tricks are a joy to watch and can be a worry for opposition defenders.

Raju Gaikwad – The former Indian Arrows and India U-23 captain has made a seamless progress into the national senior side. The central defender is famous for his Rory Delap style long throws and India will make maximum use of his missile like throw-in’s. He is comfortable with the ball at his feet and ruthless in the tackle.

You can follow Justin on Twitter by clicking here or search for the Twitter handle @Justinho10

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