• New Delhi, Aug 12 (IANS) India coach Stephen Constantine feels that the forthcoming tri-nation football series will serve as an ideal platform for his team to prepare for the forthcoming AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Macau on September 5.

    “The two matches would immensely benefit our quest to maintain an all-win record in the Asian Cup Qualifiers,” Constantine said here on Saturday.

    India are at the top of Group A at the moment, courtesy back to back victories over Myanmar and the Kyrgyz Republic.

    “Qualification to the 2019 Asian Cup stays the priority. It will be nice to work with the boys again. They will be coming after a long break and we need to work hard for them to attain the fitness levels which are required for an international match,” Constantine said.

    “The boys need to play matches to understand each other better.”

    India are currently ranked 97 in the FIFA rankings. The national team, courtesy 13 victories in the last 15 matches — including an unofficial match against Bhutan — have moved up 76 places since March 2015.

    India were ranked 171 when Constantine took over as the national team coach for the second time in February 2015 and slipped further to 173 in March 2015 in the FIFA ladder even before Constantine could have his first game in charge against Nepal.

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    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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