Indian football team goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu believes that the next coach of the national team should be playing a huge role in taking the country to newer heights on the footballing scene.
India were within touching distance from an appearance in the knockout stages of the AFC Asian Cup before losing out to Bahrain after conceding a 90th minute penalty. Sandhu single-handedly kept India in that match after making 11 saves throughout the game.
In a detailed interview with the Times of India for the first time since India's Asian Cup exit, Sandhu was asked about the kind of coach that the Indian team needs now. He replied by stating, "The federation has to decide on that (appointing the new national coach). But we have come a long way in the last 2-3 years."
Sandhu continued, "We should have reached the next round in the Asian Cup. Therefore, whosoever comes in should focus on improving the footballing culture in our country. The next coach should help India reach the next level. The Indian football team should also have a proper supply chain like in place, like the Indian cricket team."
Talking about the progress made by the national team over the years, Sandhu stated, "When I joined the team back in 2014-15, the entire team virtually comprised of newcomers. Gradually, we became a unit. The dressing room atmosphere became amazing. That led to good performances against good sides."
Sandhu concluded by revealing the importance of playing against good teams on an international level at regular intervals as he stated, "A few years ago our FIFA ranking was 171 and now it is 97. To make further progress, it is important that we play against sides that ranked above us."