A lot of issues were brought to light after India suffered a 1-2 defeat against Guam in their previous 2018 FIFA World Preliminary Joint Qualifier in June this year. Coach Stephen Constantine spearheaded the effort to implement some quick solutions to sort out things that stunted the growth of the national team.
From asking PIOs (Player of Indian Origins) to represent the national team, to having an organised football league calendar, the British coach has often taken on his AIFF (All India Football Federation) bosses as well as forced them to take decisions for the betterment of the Indian football team.
One of the key changes that Constantine has made is the GPS tracking system. The device will be worn by the players inside their jerseys during their game against Asian giants Iran in the Russia 2018 Preliminary Joint Qualifiers from Group D on Tuesday.
"We have been working very hard recently and with the innovative GPS System implemented, we have been able to identify and hone our fitness level," India star midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh told AIFF's official site. "Against Iran, obviously we have to work hard. But, we are ready for that."
Constantine's side come into the game after recording a goalless draw against Nepal in an international friendly on 31 August, and judging by the performance in the match, it can be said that only a Herculean effort can see Indian overwhelm Iran, who are the top-ranked side in the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) currently.
However, Lyngdoh says that he and his team are ready for the match. "It is natural. You want to test yourself against the very best. Tell me who doesn't want to play Argentina?" he said. "Moreover, this also gives us an opportunity to give our opponents a hard fight," he added.
"In Football anyone can win, anyone can lose. We have a plan and we will follow that. We will give it our best shot and hope for a positive result," he stated. "The Coach has been motivating us to give it our best shot and that has installed in us a mentality. We are raring to go."
India have lost both their previous qualifiers against Oman and Guam, respectively with a 1-2 scoreline, and Constantine's side will have to turn things around in the remaining eight matches to provide some real challenge. The performance of Sunil Chhetri will be vital as the star striker scored for the tricolour in both the matches in June.
Iran come into the game on the back of a 6-0 victory over Guam on 3 September, and by all means, Carlos Queiroz's side go into the game on Tuesday as favourites. Star forward Sardar Azmoun, regarded as the 'Iranian [Lionel] Messi', said: "I know that Indian football is improving and making a lot of progress in recent years. I hope that the Indian team does well, but having said that, we of course want to get three points here."
India: Subrata Paul (C), Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Arindam Bhattacharya, Dhanapal Ganesh, Arnab Mondal, Sandesh Jhingan, Aiborlang Khongjee, Dhanachandra Singh, Narayan Das, Rino Anto, Pritam Kotal, Eugenson Lyngdoh, Cavin Lobo, Sehnaj Singh, Jackichand Singh, Pronoy Halder, Francis Fernandes, CK Vineeth, Rowlin Borges, Romeo Fernandes, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Robin Singh, Sunil Chhetri; FIFA Ranking: 155
Iran: Andranik Teymourian (C), Alireza Haghighi, Alireza Beiranvand, Mohammadreza Akhbari, Jalal Hosseini, Hossein Kanaani, Morteza Pouraliganji, Vouria Ghafouri, Milad Mohammadi, Pejman Montazeri, Ramin Rezaeian, Khosro Heydari, Ehsan Hajsafi, Mehdi Torabi, Omid Alishah, Omid Ebrahimi, Vahid Amiri, Ali Karimi, Saeid Ezatolahi, Ashkan Dejagah, Mehdi Taremi, Kaveh Rezaei, Sardar Azmoun; FIFA Ranking: 40
India vs Iran Schedule
Venue: Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru
Date: 8 September, 2015
Time: 7pm IST