Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: Pronay Halder has always been a fighter on the field. The hard-tackling and omnipresent central midfielder who played a stellar role in the International Friendly against Oman informs the target for the Blue Tigers is to get out of the group stage in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019. In an exclusive interview, Halder opens out about him maturing as a player, the match against Oman, India’s opponents in the Asian Cup and even rates Anirudh Thapa as a player.
How do you look back at the Oman match?
It was a good test for us. We supported each other on the field. The match gave us an idea as to what to expect in the Asian Cup. They were such a tough opponent who are so much comfortable on the ball. It was an acid test for us.
Your recent performances against China and Jordan earned accolades…
It’s not just about my own performance but a collective one. I am a midfielder. My performance also depends on my teammates, as much their performance depends on myself. Both against China and Jordan, we put in our respective shifts. That made the job easier. That’s the way forward for us in the Asian Cup too. If we play together, fight for each other as a team, only then we get the desired results.
UAE, Bahrain and Thailand – which of these teams do you think will pose the biggest challenge for India in the group stage?
All opponents pose threats. I always believe in giving them respect both on and off the pitch. But I won’t give away an inch during the match. We believe that we can make it out of this group. That’s our target.
How do you describe your partnership with Anirudh Thapa?
Anirudh is a very hard-working player. He always makes sure to cover for me when I am out of position, and vice versa. The communication between the two of us is great. I always tell him to point out the mistakes which I make so that I can correct myself.
Do you still rue that missed chance against Jordan?
Obviously I rue it. But I have taken inspiration from it. I have watched the video perhaps a million times. But I’ve realised that there’s no point in lamenting. I have to look ahead to the future, and score from such situations whenever I get them.