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AFC lauds Indian football team for its commendable show in Asian Cup

Press Trust of India  |  Sharjah 

Confederation Dato John Sunday commended the Indian team for its impressive performance in the Asian Cup so far, saying that the country has made a "remarkable" progress in the game in recent years.

secured a stunning 4-1 win over before going down 0-2 to hosts in a group match in which had more clear chances than their opponents.

"has performed commendably in the Asian Cup 2019 and the opening victory against Thailand, which was their first in 55 years in the competition's history, is testament to the development of Indian and the continued dedication of the AIFF," said.

"Despite their narrow defeat against UAE, they showed great character and resilience to compete against one of the tournament's heavyweights on home soil and anyone who was there will feel were a little unfortunate. I believe India can take great pride with their performances," he was quoted as saying in a statement released by Federation.

Asked if India has turned out to be a surprise package in the tournament, the AFC top said, "India's performance may have come as a surprise for some, but at the AFC, we are well aware of the remarkable progress of football in the country over the last decade.

"The AFC's Vision and Mission underlines our commitment to provide tailor-made assistance for our Member Associations and as the world's second largest country, we have long recognised the potential of India. Over the years, we have continued to work closely with the AIFF to raise the standards of the sport through Initiatives and development programmes."

He said Indian football has shown clear signs of scaling new heights.

"These include the results of the U-16 team at the recently concluded AFC U-16 Championship Malaysia 2018, where they qualified for the quarter-finals for the first time since the 2002 edition, as well as the success of Bengaluru FC who have reached the AFC Cup final in 2016 and the Inter Zone final in 2017 and the Inter Zone semi-final in 2018," he said.

"We hope that the commendable display by the Indian team will continue to accelerate this paradigm shift."

Talismanic Indian striker Sunil Chhetri overtook as the second highest goal scorer among active footballers in the world behind

Asked about this feat, said, "Sunil's record clearly exemplifies his desire and professionalism both on and off the pitch. He has been a proud of Indian football for club and country and now, with two goals in the UAE, he has proven his abilities to perform on the continent's ultimate stage.

"I am confident that this achievement will serve as an inspiration to young aspiring footballers in India and on the continent. With hard work, dedication and a commitment to excellence, Sunil is a fine example that nothing is impossible.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, January 13 2019. 20:05 IST