India's interim football coach Armando Colaco has a tough task at hand as the national team faces the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the first round of World Cup qualifiers in July.
He says it will be a challenge to get past the UAE, whose only World Cup appearance was way back in 1990 in the US. India, however, did beat the UAE 1-0 at Bangalore in 2001 for the 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign under Sukhwinder Singh.
"It will be a tough game for the team. Don't expect miracles from me overnight. We need time to build the team," Colaco told IANS from Goa.
During his tenure as the Dempo coach, Colaco has been highly successful leading the Goan club to four I-League titles and also to the semifinal of the AFC Cup, the second-tier club competition in Asia.
Colaco, who played for both Salgaocar and Dempo, wants to mould the national team in Dempo's style of play.
"The national team has been playing too many long balls. But I don't see them having much success as Indian players are not good in the air. We have to play the passing game if we want to taste success," said Colaco.
Asked if he would change India's 4-4-2 formation, which was adopted by Bob Houghton, Colaco said: "I have to sit down with the team and analyse the strength and weaknesses and then we have to formulate a strategy."
Colaco added that there will be some new faces in the team.
"I will be trying out some new boys. We have some international friendlies ahead of the World Cup qualifier and that will help us to prepare well," he said.
Under him, India will face Pakistan in a three-match series next month in England and then will play two away international friendlies against the Maldives (July 10) and Qatar (July 17). The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is also trying to organise two more international friendlies in-between at home.
The first leg in the UAE is slated for July 23 while India will host the return-leg at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium July 28.