India mid-fielder Dias hopes to get it right against UAE

June 27th, 2011 - 11:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 27 (IANS) Mid-fielder Steven Dias is striving hard to get back his swerving free-kicks on target as India prepare to take on United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the first round of the World Cup qualifiers.

The Churchill Brothers mid-fielder said Monday that he has an important role to play in national football coach Armando Colaco’s scheme of things. The right-winger played an excellent role in the national team’s win in the 2007 and the 2009 Nehru Cup, but an injury lay-off and loss of form saw him struggling during India’s disastrous campaign in the Asian Cup earlier this year.

Dias was lucky not to be among the 15 footballers who were shown the door by Colaco. The 27-year-old is now leaving no stone unturned to get back his form as his swerving free-kicks would prove crucial in qualifying matches July 23 (UAE) and at home July 28.

He said it is not tough for him to adjust to different styles of training. Coalco is training India to play the passing game while his predecessor Bob Houghton’s focus was on the dead ball situation.

“Both have a different style of play. Armando wants us to keep the ball in play and attack. We are training twice a day and hopefully we will get it right,” he said.

The Mumbai lad is all impressed with the quality of youngsters in the camp

“I am quite impressed with the quality of youngsters in the camp and I am sure they will do well in the camp as well in the coming years. On a personal note, I am working hard on my fitness as well as other aspects of the game,” he said.

He said it won’t be difficult for him to adjust to the two different styles of play in a short time.

“I am acquainted with the style of play having played under David Booth when I was in Mahindra. As a professional we always need to adjust to the conditions,” said Dias.

On his role in the team, Dias said: “I still have an important no matter what style we play. In any match dead ball situations are the best scoring opportunities and I know I have an important role to play.

Meanwhile, India under-23 captain Raju Gaekwad, who joined the national camp Monday, said it was a privilege to work with the seniors.

“It’s a great feeling. I am looking forward to it. All the seniors are very cooperative and very talented and I am looking forward to work with them,” he said.

Gaekwad, son of reputed Bombay boxer Eknath, has earned the reputation of being a throw specialist.

“I work on throw-ins. It all started with Air-India when I used to practice with them. As a kid I always wanted to learn new things. I saw Uttam Singh doing it with so ease and wanted to replicate the same. I am glad that, my hard word is paying dividend now,” he said.

Asked whether he does something special to get long accurate throws, Gaekwad said: “I have trained myself to be throw-in specialist. It just happened and I started working on my strengths.”

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