EXCLUSIVE interview with Gurpreet Singh Sandhu : I think we can beat Iran and Oman at home

Dipesh Agarwal / 14 April 2015

Indian national team goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu believes India have very strong chances in the round 2 of the Fifa World Cup 2018 (AFC) qualifiers. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was the part of the Indian side that beat Nepal in the round 1 of the qualifiers. 

Chandigarh born 6’6” tall Gurpreet Singh Sandhu became the second Indian after the legendary Mohammed Salim to represent a 1st Team of a Top Division European Club. Interestingly Gurpreet became the first footballer in the post-independence era to play for a top side European club, as he made his debut for Norwegian side Stabæk Fotball Club in a friendly match, while the last footballer to do so was the legendary Mohammed Salim as he joined Celtic back in 1936.

Twenty two year old goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh was born in Mohali, Punjab and is currently the only Indian football player plying his trade not only outside India but in Europe with Norwegian top flight side Stabaek FC. He signed for the Norwegian side in the summer transfer window of 2014, having previously played for Kolkata giants East Bengal. It is worth pointing out that this is not a loan arrangement or a commercial deal but instead based purely on talent, ability and merit.

Here are the excerpts from his interview with Sportzwiki editor Dipesh Agarwal.

Dipesh : First and foremost, Congrats on qualifiying for the round 2 of the Fifa World Cup 2018 (AFC) qualifiers. What you think of India’s chances?

Gurpreet : Thanks. To be pretty honest, we have a fair chance to get to the Asian Cup if we do our jobs properly. I think it’s a very realistic target for us.

Dipesh : India are placed along with Oman, Turkmenistan, Guam and Iran in Group D for the FIFA World Cup 2018(AFC) qualifiers. Are you happy with the draw?

Gurpreet : Yes , it could have been worse for us , but its not. So now we need to make sure that we prepare well to face these teams because they are not weak teams , they are very strong and competitive.

Dipesh : Who do you think will be our toughest opposition in the round 2 of the Fifa World Cup 2018 (AFC) qualifiers?

Gurpreet : Iran and Oman are the strongest in the group so they will be a real test for us.

Dipesh : Are you confident of getting a result against Iran and Oman?

Gurpreet : I think we have very strong chances to beat them at home and cause an upset. 

Dipesh : What are your thoughts on our new head coach Stephen Constantine?

Gurpreet : Stephen is a good coach, I like his ideas of football and how he wants us to play. I think it suits us pretty well and we need time to get the desired results.

Dipesh : The new season in Tippeligaen is underway. What’s the target for Stabaek and for you personally?

Gurpreet : As a team, we want to finish in the top half of the table and keep improving. Personally, I want to start games in the league or the cup to take the next step.

Dipesh : Lastly, with hype given by the Indian Super League and all the talent we have in India, What would be a realistic target for India to become a relatively big name in Football?

Gurpreet: I think the realistic target should be to produce young talents and make them play abroad to get better. I am pretty confident that we can be in the top 100 very soon, but as I said earlier everyone needs to understand their jobs and get it done. There is no room for mistakes.


Read More about Gurpreet Singh Sandhu – Here.


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