: Mumbai: Footballer Lalruatthara (L) during a practice session ahead of Intercontinental Cup, in Mumbai on May 21, 2018. .. Image Source: IANS

Mumbai, May 21 : Indian football team defender Lalruatthara on Monday said the Intercontinental Cup is a good preparation for the for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup mext year.

"This tournament has a great importance in our preparation as it'll help us gauge ourselves before the AFC Asian Cup. There's very little time left for the test and we have to be at the top of our game before taking on the Asian superpowers," Lalruatthara told reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing preparatory camp.

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) will be hosting the Intercontinental Cup at the Mumbai Football Arena here with New Zealand, Chinese Taipei and Kenya in the fray apart from India.

Talking about the importance of fitness, Mizoram's Lalruatthara who was adjudged 'Emerging Player of the ISL 2017-18', said :Fitness in modern-day football is of paramount importance.

"It's compulsory that a player follows the routine regularly, even during the off-season."
"There's no shortcut to success and we have to stick to our schedule to be in right shape, come what may."
Lalruatthara made his senior team debut against the Kyrgyz Republic in the final Asian Cup qualifying match in Bishkek.

He believes, that he's much better player now -- courtesy his experience in International Football.

"I'm learning every day and my sole target is to get better every day. I feel I'm a much-improved player now compared to my first day in the National Team."
The soft-spoken defender who idolises Sandesh Jhingan added: "It has been a great season for me. But I have to keep my focus right. Debuting against the Kyrgyz Republic was dream-come-true. This was a huge experience. But, I have to work even harder now to stay on the run."

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