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PTI mumbai India
Updated: 05-12-2018 20:39 IST

Legendary German footballer Lothar

Matthaus believes that the current Indian team has the quality

to make it to the next round of the upcoming AFC Asian Cup, to

be hosted by the UAE.

India, who have qualified for the AFC Asian Cup

commencing on January 5, 2019, are clubbed with hosts UAE,

Thailand and Bahrain.

"I have to tell honestly that I am not a specialist

about all Asian football. I know the top countries who play

mostly in the World Cup. But I generally follow football not

only in Asia but also in South America.

"When I saw the group in which they (India) are to

play (in the AFC Asian Cup), it is possible for India to go to

the next round," Matthaus said Wednesday at a media briefing


The 57-year-old former soccer player is on a

promotional visit to India.

"The UAE is the favourite and they are home game for

them. But you (India) have the quality in your team to make

strong competition against Bahrain and against Thailand and

then everything is possible," said the ex-Germany captain who

led his country to the 1990 World Cup title when asked how

India should approach the AFC Asian Cup.

Matthaus, who has appeared in five World Cups from

1982-1998, was also optimistic that India could think of

qualifying for the World Cup in another 8-10 years.

"You cannot change from one day to another the results

of Indian football. This needs time. May be in eight-ten years

you (India) can think about World Cup qualification. I am sure

you (it) will not come in 2022, but in 2026 and 2030 you

(India) have a good chance," the Germany and Bundesliga great


Walking down memory lane, Matthaus recalled his on-

field rivalry against Argentina great Diego Maradona.

"I had different jobs. In 1986 (World Cup), my job was

to stop (Diego) Maradona. In 1990, we had another player to

stop Maradona and I was playing more in the offence and you

see we had better results.

"Maradona in 86 was different than in 1990. 1986 was

his World Cup; 1990 he was not playing on his highest level.

And it was good for us (Germans) and not so good for

Argentina, but generally we were a better team and were more

stable than in 1986. It was always an honour for me to play

against Diego Maradona," he said.

While the 1986 World Cup played in Mexico was won by

Argentina under Maradona, Germany lifted the 1990 edition held

in Italy when Mathaus led his nation.

Meanwhile, on his maiden India visit, the FC Bayern

Munich great Tuesday visited an Indian Super League (ISL) game

in Kochi between Kerala Blasters and Jamshedpur FC.

On Thursday, he is set to witness another ISL game to

be played in Mumbai.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)