NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India forward Jeje Lalpekhlua believes his “telepathic understanding” with Sunil Chhetri up front will stand the team in good stead in their Asian Cup return after an eight-year hiatus.
Chhetri’s tally of 65 goals from 103 international matches since his 2005 debut makes him India’s most prolific striker. But Stephen Constantine’s team will also need Jeje to fire if they are to progress beyond the group stage in the Jan. 5- Feb.1 tournament in the United Arab Emirates.
“I played with him when I made my debut. Since then we have been playing together,” the Mizo striker was quoted as saying in an All India Football Federation release on Tuesday.
“I feel together we fit in well and complement each other’s styles... We have a telepathic understanding on the pitch,” he said.
India will kick off their Group A campaign against Thailand on Jan. 6 before taking on hosts UAE and Bahrain.
Chhetri is the lone surviving member of the 2011 team who lost all three group games in Qatar, but Jeje insisted the team had made significant improvements since then.
“With every match, we have been getting better and have achieved a lot in between,” he said.
“This team is a strong one as we have put in a lot of good work so far. We are confident in our abilities and feel that we can take on any challenge.”
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Hugh Lawson