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I knew my time would come: Rahul Bheke

India
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India's win at Asian Cup a source of pride, but there's still work to do - Constantine

India captain Sunil Chhetri on the importance of doing well at the upcoming AFC Asian Cup.

India still have work to despite their strong start at the Asian Cup, coach Stephen Constantine told ESPN FC in an exclusive interview.

The English coach began his second spell in charge of the Blue Tigers in 2015 and has restructured the organisation around the team, taken the side into the top 100 of FIFA's rankings and delivered a first win on the continental stage since 1964 -- Sunday's 4-1 triumph over Thailand. But he is keen to stress that India must keep moving forward.

"Despite everything, we can get better and do things better," Constantine told ESPN FC at the team's hotel in Abu Dhabi. "We have to do things better on the administration side and the coaching development side, which is still a disappointment. Then there is the focus on youth development and grassroots that needs to continue even if you win the World Cup.

"It is important now that the momentum continues and that Indian football continues to grow."

That's not to say the coach won't acknowledge the significance of the win over Thailand: "We've finally got respect for Indian football, we've woken the sleeping giant. It was dead and buried four years ago."

Progressing to the Asian Cup's knockout stages would be a further step forward. On Thursday, India take on the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi, before finishing the group against Bahrain.

India's victory over Thailand was their first at the Asian Cup in more than 50 years.

"We have two very tough games," Constantine said. "I thought Bahrain played very well in the opening game and I was impressed. UAE are the host nation and want to do well and it is going to be very difficult."

Whatever happens, it has been a tournament to remember.

"We are already successful, we have gone beyond all expectations," Constantine said. "I don't care what anyone says, nobody thought we would get here. Nobody thought we were going to win a game. We are here, and guess what? We have won a game.

"We will try to win the next two games and at least get points and hope we can squeeze in and qualify. But if that does not happen, have we been successful? Absolutely."

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