India strong favourite despite Jhingan’s injury: Bangla coach

The injury-induced absence of Sandesh Jhingan may have hurt India's defence but Bangladesh head coach Jamie Day believes the Sunil Chhetri-led side will still start as overwhelming favourite in the upcoming World Cup qualifier.
Sandesh Jhingan
Sandesh Jhingan

Kolkata

Jhingan suffered a tear on his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) on his left knee during India’s 1-1 draw against ISL outfit NorthEast United FC on Wednesday. The central defender will have to undergo a surgery that may rule him out for six months. Jhingan is the latest addition to the list of injured players in the Indian team, which will also be without Rahul Bheke.

But the Englishman remained realistic on his team's chances. "I don't see it any different from before. India is at home and expected to win," said Day on Friday. Bangladesh is placed 187 on the FIFA table, compared to India's rank of 104. Bangladesh comes here on the back of a 0-2 loss to Asian champion and group E leader Qatar in Dhaka on Thursday.

Although his team went down, the chief is “extremely pleased with the performance.” India had held Qatar to a goalless draw in its away fixture last month and the former Ebbsfleet and Welling manager feels it has made rapid progress under Igor Stimac.

"I have seen the progress India has made in recent times. In fact, the side made great strides under an English coach (Stephen Constantine) before Igor Stimac took over. I haven't met or spoken to Stimac, but I am looking forward to meeting him soon."

Gearing up for next Tuesday’s clash at the Salt Lake Stadium, he added, “I think coming over straight after the Qatar game gives us a few days to settle down and prepare.” Bangladesh has assembled a young squad, one which has a number of Under-23 boys who did well at the Asian Games last year. “We wanted to test and push them further. But at the same time, I also believe you need some experience around them to help guide during camps and international matches."

Under Day, Bangladesh has won seven of its 13 International matches since May 2018 and the gaffer hopes to build on thefoundation.

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