I am confident about my abilities: Dheeraj Singh

 Debayan Mukherjee

Conceding off the last kick of the ball does not always do a goalkeeper’s confidence a world of good. More so when that goal means the points will be split after leading for virtually the entire match. Dheeraj Singh, AIFF XI’s 15-year old boy under the bar met with the same fate in their last game against PVF Vietnam.

But the Petr Cech fan put up a brave face at the Pre-Match Press Conference on the eve of his side’s fourth game of the Asia Champions Trophy against Frenz United Malaysia A here at the Barasat Stadium Saturday (June 7, 2014).

“I am confident about my abilities,” Dheeraj said answering to a question about his preparations for tomorrow’s game after the last minute heartbreaker the other night.

“I know that I can stand tall in front of them. Past is past, there is no point sulking over it. I have to be extra cautious this time, and I have learnt a lot from my mistakes in the last two matches,” he added.

Head Coach Goutam Ghosh told reporters that his wards are fitter and more confident after playing the first two matches, and are raring to go.

“Playing in international tournaments gives you some much to ponder on,” Ghosh said. “You learn so much and at their age, they are having an experience of a lifetime. With every match they are rectifying their mistakes and trying to give in that extra to win.”

He continued: “We haven’t been winning matches so there will be few fingers pointed at us. We keep on talking about development but at the end of the day results do have a positive impact and we realise that. We are working very hard for to taste victory. I know that a win will change the complexion of things to a great extent.

“My Boys are much more fitter, and much more stronger going into this game. This has happened with exposure and of the highest order over the last three games.”

Frenz United Malaysia A’s Head Coach S. Balachandran while expressing that his side will play attacking football from the word go, called for discipline also against a team that “has got a lot of potential.”

“This side (AIFF XI) have a lot of potential. They were really good against us especially in the first half, and that was their first game that too away from home comfort. It was a labored win so we cannot be complacent against them by any stretch of imagination.”

Accompanying Coach was the team’s highest scorer Kogileswaran Raj who has netted five goals in the tournament so far including a hattrick in their last game against Home United Singapore.

Asked whether he will be comfortable on artificial turf which is not their mainstay, the tall striker said: “It’s true that back home we play on natural grass. But that won’t be a problem. We keep travelling and are used to the conditions. We started training early today (Friday) for this reason.”

AIFF XI are fifth in the points table with a point to show for from three games while their opponents are at the top of the heap garnering seven so far from three outings.

Match starts 6:35 PM on Saturday (June 7, 2014).