India head coach Stephen Constantine has said how the lack of experience and consistency cost his team the SAFF Cup final, as they went down 2-1 to surrender the title at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka on Saturday.
Seven-times champions India had trounced the Maldives 2-0 in the group stages, but the Maldives dominated this game with a goal each from Ibrahim Hussain and Ali Fasir to ensure they took the trophy home after 10 years.
India comprising of under-23 players except for one, managed to get a consolation goal in the extra time of the second half courtesy a Sumeet Passi strike.
Stephen Constantine had advised his young players to use this tournament to prove that they deserve to be on the flight to UAE for the AFC Asian Cup in January. However since the defeat, questions will be raised regarding tactics.
“We didn’t play the game according to our potential and that’s where the lack of experience matters. We weren’t able to replicate our performance from the semifinal (against Pakistan) and that’s what seems to happen when you play with younger boys,” Constantine said at the post-match press conference in Dhaka on Saturday.
“They don’t have the consistency and the experience to play at the same level every game but they’ll learn from this. I think we didn’t disappoint anyone else but ourselves. We didn’t do enough to win the game but we move on from here,” he added.
However he added how proud he was of their overall performance during the last two weeks.
“The way they performed and delivered in the last 10-12 days, I’m extremely proud of them. They are the future of India football for the next six-eight years. I’m extremely proud of the boys and it’s going to be a good learning experience for them.”