New Delhi: As his wards prepare to take a shot at the SAFF Championship title, Indian football coach Savio Medeira on Thursday said that no team is favourite from the semifinals onwards and the one that commits minimum mistake will go on to win the tournament. (Agencies)
According to Medeira, all the four teams in the semifinals - India, Maldives, Afghanistan and Nepal - are on par with each other.
"The two teams who qualified earlier (Maldives and Nepal) have an extra day rest. We will give our 100 per cent. No team is favourite from here on. The team which commits less mistakes will go on top," he said.
The last time defending champions India met Maldives was in a friendly match in July, when the two had played out a 1-1 draw, but Medeira believed the visitors are more organised now.
"I think this team is much better than the one we played last. This is a different lot, much better organised and playing much better.
"And it's not just about Ali Ashfaq (he has been Maldives' standout player) though he can get the game out of the opponent at any time. As a team, they are good and I respect the opponents."
Samir Naik, who missed the last two matches after suffering a bruise on his right ankle, is back in contention and according to Medeira, that gives the team more options.
"Samir coming back gives us more options. We do not have any injury worries," the coach said.
About the lack of crowd at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Medeira said, "For sure, when we play at Ambedkar, they (the crowd) are like a 12th man. Their absence surely affects our performance. Ambedkar is like a proper football stadium.
"If people come for for tomorrow's match well and good, if they don't, can't help."
The consistent Ashfaq has been a thorn in every opponent's flesh and he was also instrumental in guiding Maldives to the title in the 2008 edition when they defeated India in the final.
"Past is past, tomorrow is a new match," Ashfaq said when reminded about that match. The player added that he was "open to coming to India" provided the offer is attractive.
The team's Hungarian coach, Istvan Urbanyi, said his team will compete till the last moment.
"That match was three years ago, that win doesn't matter now. Tomorrow we will be competitive till the last moment.
This is quick race and all the teams have different type of quality. They play a different style and organisation. It is not easy to compare the teams," he said.
"I think to win a tournament a lot of personal qualities come in. If we make a lot of good decisions, we can win,"Urbanyi said.
New Delhi: As his wards prepare to take a shot at the SAFF Championship title, Indian football coach Savio Medeira on Thursday said that no team is favourite from the semifinals onwards and the one that commits minimum mistake will go on to win the tournament.