NEW DELHI: Former India defender Gouramangi Singh on Saturday said hosts UAE will pose a serious threat to the country's group stage campaign in the AFC Asian Cup football beginning from January 5.
"I would say UAE would be very strong. Their fans would also come in large numbers. Add to that, the team would be preparing to do well on home soil. I feel that will be our toughest match," Singh said.
Indian start their Asian Cup campaign on January 6 when they take on Thailand.
They will play UAE on January 10 followed by the match against Bahrain on January 14.
"In the two remaining group matches against Thailand and Bahrain, I feel we stand a chance and it would all boil down to the performance on the day," he said.
The 32-year-old, who scored India's first goal in the AFC Asian Cup 2011 against Bahrain, believes the positive result against China (0-0) in an international friendly in October will boost the confidence of the players.
"Malaysia got a favourable result against Thailand and Bahrain have been up and down with the national team in recent years so we don't really know what to expect.
"But at the same time, India achieved an away draw versus China and there is no reason to stay intimidated by them," the centre-back said.