The Indian National team are all set to face reigning Asian Champions, Qatar for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. The Blue Tigers till now are winless in the group registering only three points from three draws against Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Qatar. They need a change in their fortunes and one person who can make it happen has to be Brandon Fernandes.
If the FC Goa midfielder continued his purple patch for the national team as well then India will have plenty of chances to score goals. While qualifying for the next round looks improbable. The Blue Tigers can still fight for a spot in the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.
Brandon had a great 2019-20 season for the Gaurs as he notched up seven assists and played a vital role in securing the Indian Super League Shield and earning a place in the prestigious AFC Champions League. Brandon gave a great account of himself even at the ACL where FC Goa finished 3rd in the group stages. There also he assisted twice, once in the 2-1 defeat against Persepolis and another in a 1-1 draw against Qatari outfit, Al Rayyan SC.
“My motive is to give my 100 per cent in every match,” the 26-year-old told in an exclusive interview conducted by FIFA. “We all know what opponents we are facing. But it is must-win scenarios for us and we expect nothing less than the best. Realistically, I hope we can obtain at least six or seven points from the remaining games”, added Brandon Fernandes
“We have a very good squad, young and energetic. We are doing well under coach Stimac. The mindset is to improve and get better in every session. He has been giving us good support. He tries to guide and motivate us all on and off field,” he continued.
Indian will play their last three matches in Qatar and it starts with the hosts. The Blue Tigers have great memories of playing th Asian Champions as they held their fort to a 0-0 draw. Brandon feels that the team should take motivation from that result.
“It will be a completely new match, a new day and so we have to give it our best shot if we want a positive outcome. Of course, no match is easy and hence we need to avoid any errors,” he said.
Speaking about India’s age-old dream of featuring in the World Cup, Brandon sounded very optimistic. “India’s [current] team has definitely raised the bar in comparison to previous years. With the kind of opportunities and exposure provided to the youth teams, we can see a lot of reason for positivity. I firmly believe that in the coming years we will surely get through the [World Cup] qualifiers.”