Azkals grouped with South Korea, China, Kyrgyzstan in 2019 AFC Asian Cup

Meanwhile, India captain Sunil Chhetri along with Iranian legend Ali Daei, iconic Chinese player Sun Jihai and Philippines' star Philip James Younghusband coordinated the picks for the four respective pots helping AFC General Secretary Dato Windsor John to conduct the draw.

Indian football team head coach Stephen Constantine has stated that his team has the ability to qualify for the knock-out stage of the 2019 Asian Cup to be held at United Arab Emirates (UAE) after its draw was announced Friday night here.

The top two from each group automatically qualify to the knockout stages while the four best third placers will also make the cut.

Arnold will take over from Bert van Marwijk after the World Cup in what will be his second Asian Cup in charge, having led the team in their disappointing 2007 campaign. Although Bahrain have performed well in their recent history, India can still beat them. "What we are facing (in Asian Cup) are the best in Asia", Chhetri said. Just because we did not meet Australia and South Korea again, people are thinking it is going to be easy, no.

"I hope that we keep using all the worldwide windows available in the year. If you have watched Thailand over the past few years, you would know they are the most improved side in Asia", he said.

The last time India qualified for the Asian Cup was in 2011, when Chhetri was a youngster and this time around, he is the one who has to guide the team.

"The most important for us right now is to be something good in Asia". But I don't give too much importance to Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings.

Chhetri says Team India is confident of positive performances in the continental tournament.

"I never take rankings seriously". We have broken inside top 100 but the way rankings work is very tricky.

The skipper also opined that domestic tournaments like the Indian Super League (ISL) and the Super Cup - which has replaced the Federation Cup from this season - help to bring new talent into the national side. "That rounds up to about six to eight games", Gurpreet said.

Chhetri's club Bengaluru FC almost won Indian Super League in their debut season, only to lose to Chennaiyin 2-3 FC in the summit clash.

  • Rogelio Becker