New Delhi, May 22: FC Goa player Brandon Fernandes says he was quite confident of earning a call to play for the National team again ahead of the King's Cup slated to begin from June 5-8 at Buriram, Thailand.
"I always knew I was going to get a chance to represent India again," Brandon smiled. "There are ups and downs in a player’s life. I did not lose any hope when I was not called up. In fact, that motivated me to keep working hard to earn a call-up. I am very happy, but the real challenge for me begins now," said Brandon.
India will play their opening match against Curacao on June 5.
Currently, the Indian National Football team are training hard under newly-appointed Head Coach Igor Stimac in the National camp here in the Capital till June 1 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and will then leave for Buriram the following day for the 47th King's Cup the annual international men's football tournament organised by Football Association of Thailand.
Stimac’s appointment has been greeted with much optimism by the players and the fans, with as many as 9 debutants having got a call up to the National Team camp for the first time ever.
Brandon Fernandes also highlighted Stimac’s philosophy for the team of 'being among the best in Asia.'
"He comes with a rich experience. With his experience, I feel it was the right choice to appoint him. He has already shared that he wants us from us," Brandon maintained.
Rahul Bheke, who scored the match-winner in the Hero Indian Super League final for his club Bengaluru FC against FC Goa stated that "Stimac wants us to be one of the best teams in Asia."
"We have had a couple of session under him (Igor Stimac), and he is really apprehensive of our abilities as a team. He wants us to target doing well in Asian tournaments, and be one of the best teams in Asia," Bheke said. "I will keep doing what the coach asks of me and keep trying to work my socks off in his pattern of style of playing football."
Speaking about his personal challenge, Bheke expressed that he is "looking forward to making an impact, and do well with the National team. I have been called for the first time. So I need to make the most out of it, and not let this opportunity slip. (UNI)