Indian captain Sunil Chhetri reckons the team is well prepared ahead of FIFA World Cup qualifiers. The Blue Tigers have already won the SAFF Championship, Inter-continental Cup, and the tri-nation tournament, involving Myanmar and Kyrgyz Republic in the ongoing season.
India has been drawn into Group A of the 2026 World Cup second-round qualifiers matches, which includes Qatar, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. The Blue Tigers will travel to Kuwait on November 16 before facing Qatar in Bhubaneswar on November 21.
The national team will have to be at their absolute best to get the desired results and Stimac will aim to get the best out of his players against tough opponents.
India is currently placed at 102nd place in the FIFA Rankings for teams and they will have their work cut out. However, Chhetri reckons the players have got enough game time under their belt after playing for their respective teams in the Indian Super League.
“I think it is just the morale of the team, or what has happened in the last 6-8 months. A lot of boys have taken their places in the team. And that is why we are probably more prepared,” Chhetri told the-aiff.com in Dubai on Monday.
“Also, the World Cup qualifiers are happening at a time when a lot of us have a decent amount of game time under our belts. All these things do matter.”
Chhetri added that the Blue Tigers are familiar with the opponents and they know what is expected from these three matches.
“We played Kuwait twice a few months back, so we have better knowledge of them. We have played Qatar at least thrice in the last three years, which again helps. And we always know Afghanistan. We have played them enough.
“So I think whenever we play these teams, we might play good or bad, but we will not be surprised by what we are playing against. Barring the away tie in Kuwait, we are aware of the atmosphere for the away matches against Afghanistan and Qatar,” said Chhetri.
The veteran urged his team to come up with a collective effort rather than rely on some individuals to get the job done.
“We have played together for some time. And a lot of youngsters are there. Yes, we look good.”