India can compete at big stage but need experience

Doha: Indian football team centre back Gouramangi Singh feels that the country can catch up with other nations of Asia with frequent participation in big events like the ongoing Asian Cup here.

Gouramangi, who scored India`s first goal in the Asian Cup after the 1964 edition, when he found the target against Bahrain on Friday, said the players are not overawed by the reputation of their opponents in the continental showpiece.

"It is a learning for us, no doubt, and we are playing against the best in Asia. We need this kind of matches. I feel we are as good as any other country and only thing we are lacking was the experience. With more experience, we can improve and catch up," Gouramangi said ahead of India`s last group match against South Korea on Tuesday.

"At a personal level before playing Australia and Bahrain, you have the feeling that oh you are playing against top sides and some big players. But once the game starts I am not overawed and was able to build up the tempo of the game," said Gouramangi who joins the likes of legendary footballers Chuni Goswami and Inder Singh in scoring a goal in the Asian Cup.

In the 1964 Asian Cup in Singapore, the first time India took part in the competition, Inder Singh scored twice while Goswami, Surkumar Samajapati and K Appalaraju found the target once each in Tel Aviv, Israel.

In the 1984 edition, India crashed out of the group stage after losing to hosts Singapore, UAE and China and without scoring a single goal.