New Delhi, March 20 (IANS) Indian striker Jeje Lalpekhlua has credited national coach Stephen Constantine for fine-tuning his movements inside the box.
The 25-year-old Jeje is already a veteran at the international level, having made his debut for the senior national team at the age of 20.
“Constantine has fine-tuned my movements inside the box. I owe him a lot. He has helped me regain my confidence. He always stresses that hard work beats talent. I am a firm believer in that,” Jeje was quoted as saying in an All India Football Federation (AIFF) statement on Sunday.
Jeje also praised the introduction of new techniques and training methods in the national team set-up.
“For the first time we are using GPS systems during our training and during international matches. The results are in front of us and it is so much useful to the players,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we can’t avail such facilities in the club set-up. So it is up to you to take care of yourself and do that extra bit,” he added.
“The life of an injured player is the toughest. You stay low on confidence and the reality strikes you that you need to do it all by yourself.”
The Indian team will face Iran for a second round match of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers on Monday. Jeje believes it will be quite a difficult task to beat the Asian powerhouse. India had last beaten Iran in 1959.
“It’s hard for the coach to set up the team in such a short duration. He doesn’t have much time. Playing in Iran will be tough. We need to take inspiration from our triumph in the SAFF Cup and give or best,” Jeje said.
“The team is slowly gelling together and settling down. There have been 22 new players who have come into the national team. You cannot expect them to excel in international football on the first day itself,” he added.
“The most positive aspect of the present squad is that no player is sure of his place in the team. The coach wants all to give their 100 percent and only the best will play.”