Pune, June 16 (IANS) India's under-23 football coach Desmond Bulpin says his boys have to defend well against Qatar in the first leg of the Olympic qualifier in Doha slated for Sunday.
The Indian team did well in the first round of qualifiers against Myanmar, but against World No.92 Qatar, whose last Olympic appearance was in 1992, it will be tough.
The Englishman is confident that India will have their chances in the two matches and need to cash in on them.
Asked whether his boys have a realistic chance of winning the second round against Qatar, Bulpin said: "Why not? It's a football match after all. There's no doubting they (Qatar) are more technically equipped and an advanced footballing nation than us. So they will try to dominate. But I'm sure we will have our chances too. We are working on our set-pieces and have specific plans which I can't divulge at the moment."
Bulpin said his boys cannot afford to make silly mistakes against the 2022 World Cup hosts
"We need to defend well. There isn't any room for silly mistakes. Given the fact there are many Indians based in Doha, I expect good support for our boys. That would pump up the boys for sure," said Bulpin, who also coaches the India Arrows.
The Indian Arrows, comprising under-21 players, was formed by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) last year to prepare the national team for the 2018 World Cup. The team did well in the elite I-League. The Arrows also form the nucleus of the Olympic team.
"Obviously it helps when the boys have stayed and played together for such a long time. They gel well both on and off the field. In that sense, we stay ahead of Qatar. But the national team is not just about the Arrows. The other boys who have come in have impressed me with their attitude, discipline and professionalism," he said.
Asked whether he has followed Qatar's preparation, Bulpin said: "They have been preparing well for this match. They have had a long camp in Spain. Add to that the wonderful facilities they boast of, I'd say they've prepared a bit more than us. Let's not forget they are way above us in the FIFA rankings."
Indian Arrows captain and defender Raju Gaikwad will be leading the side in the pre-Olympic qualifiers.
India play Qatar Sunday at the Al Sadd Stadium in Doha and the return leg will held at Pune's Balewadi Sports Complex, June 23.
Goalkeepers: Laxmikant Kattimani (Dempo SC), Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Indian Arrows).
Defenders: Raju Eknath Gaikwad (Captain), Deepak Devrani, Abhishek Das (all Indian Arrows), Arnab Mondal (Chirag United), Saba Saleel (ONGC).
Midfielders: Jewel Raja Sheikh, Shilton Sydney D'Silva, Jibon Singh, Lalrindika Ralte (all Indian Arrows), Gurjinder Kumar (Pune FC), Snehasis Chakraborthy (McDowell Mohun Bagan), Anthony Barbosa (Salgaocar SC), Zakir Mundampara (Churchill Brothers).
Forwards: Jeje Lalpekhlua, Manandeep Singh (both Indian Arrows); CS Sabeeth (Viva Kerala).