The Indian national football team are all set to play four friendly matches in May ahead of the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers final which is scheduled in June. According to a report in the Times of India, India will face two friendlies in Kolkata before moving to Doha, Qatar for two more matches.
Reports on TOI suggest that the international friendly matches in Doha will be against teams like Zambia and Jordan whereas the two friendlies at home will be against domestic sides.
Igor Stimac’s men are all set to play ATK Mohun Bagan as it is beneficial for both the sides with the Mariners all set to start their AFC Cup campaign against Gokulam on 18th May and a match against the Blues Tigers totally on the basis of preparation will be a win-win situation for both the outfits.
The Indian team will take on ATK Mohun Bagan on 11th May followed by yet another friendly where the I-League stars will go up against Igor Stimac’s men. All the top performers from this season’s I-League will be chosen and they will take on the Indian team on the 17th May.
Both the games will be hosted at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. After their Kolkata stint, Igor Stimac’s men will be off to Doha, Qatar and there they will play pre-decided friendlies against Zambia and Jordan. India will be facing Zambia on 25th May and Jordan three days later on 28th May.
The Blues Tigers have had a favourable draw at the Asian Cup qualifiers final round as they are clubbed with teams like Cambodia, Hong Kong and Afghanistan in Group D. Hence India are the favourites to go through and more so because the matches will happen in Kolkata and the team will have the backing of the football fans from the City of Joy.
India are looking to seal the top spot in this group that looks easy but can be very tricky. So the Blues Tigers need to be cautious and not get complacent considering the rankings of their level of competition. With 11 spots remaining, India will be looking to book that ticket to China next year as they want to compete among Asia’s best teams.