India's chief football coach Wim Koevarmans Sunday said that India must play on dates designated by world body FIFA for friendlies if they want to go up in international rankings.
The Dutchman was restrained in his celebrations as India won the Nehru Cup for the third consecutive time beating a formidable Cameroon side 5-4 on penalties. Despite beating a team 109 slots above them, 168th ranked India won't get any ranking points as the tournament was not held during FIFA dates.
Koevermans, however, wants to carry on the momentum and said the national team would make the best use of the international match dates available in October.
"We have to carry forward the momentum. We have match dates in October and hopefully we will be playing some good international sides," said Koevarmans.
The coach said it was tough to create an international calendar for the national team, but wants to make the best use of the every opportunity available.
"I can't look back. I have to think forward. It is very difficult to create an international calendar for the team. It is tough to play an international match on every given date and it also becomes tough for the clubs to release players. So we have to have a good plan and make use of any opportunity that we get to play international matches," Koevarmans told IANS.
The coach was impressed with his team's performance against Cameroon and said the only way forward was "win, win and win".
"It was not the main Cameroon team. But they were a good side. For our boys it was a great opportunity to play a big side like Cameroon, who play in the World Cup and the African Cup of Nations. Our boys did well in keeping the ball and this is how you win matches. They came back well from 1-2 and showed great fighting spirit," he said.
Koevermans was also surprised to see his boys converting all the five penalty corners despite missing all the eight they had attempted during practice on the eve of the match.
"I must tell that I was shocked to see the boys converting all the five penalty corners. During practice they had missed all eight. But I told them such things don't happen everyday," he said.
India captain Sunil Chettri was proud of his team's performance.
"We are not very sharp but we are good listeners. We do what the coach says. For any good team, the coach and the players have to be in sync. And that is what we are trying to do," he said.
Chettri also added that India have to play more international matches to keep on the momentum.
"We have an excellent young bunch. They have matured with every game and hopefully we will be playing more international matches and that will stand in good stead," he said.