Having notched up a morale-boosting semifinal victory against Maldives, defending champions Indian team will try to maintain their supremacy in the SAFF Football Championship when they take on a tough Afghanistan in the summit clash here tomorrow.
On paper, Afghans are a superior side with a FIFA ranking of 139 to India's 145 as well as seven of their first XI footballers plying their trade in the lower tier leagues of the United States and Germany.
Medio Mustafa Azadzoy and defender Mustafa Hadid play in German league while forward Mohammed Yusuf has played in the US.
For Sunil Chhetri and his team, winning the SAFF Championship would be a thankless affair. India have won the trophy six times in the first nine editions having failed to reach the semis only once.
However, they have a solid Afghanistan team as an opposition, who were thrashed 0-4 in the final of the last edition held in New Delhi.
"We definitely want to take revenge on this India team as we felt that were hard done by the referee (Singaporean Sukhbir Singh) during the last edition. We are a far superior side than India, technically and physically," Afghanistan's assistant coach Ali Jawad Attaii declared through his interpreter – team captain Fakhruddin Amiri, who incidentally plays for I-League side Mumbai FC.
India will take a lot out of their win against Maldives in the semifinal, where there strategy worked out wonderfully.
With Gourmangi Singh in splendid form at the heart of defence and young Arnab Mondal deriving a lot of confidence from that winning goal, India would go into the match in a fine frame of mind.
The return of captain Sunil Chhetri, who is now a couple of goals shy of being India's highest scorer in international circuit will be a shot in the arm for the Dutch coach, who has preferred playing with a single striker employing a 4-5-1 formation rather than the usual 4-4-2.