Sports

Indian football team to play two international friendly matches against Nepal in September

Kolkata, August 17 (IANS) Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac has expressed satisfaction with the national team’s (India XI) performance in a showdown against IFA XI on Monday night, saying he had looked forward to having such matches on a regular basis to improve. the achievements on the national side ahead of the two international friendly matches against Nepal in September.

The men’s team’s preparatory camp started on Sunday in Kolkata for the friendly matches against Nepal, where 23 of the selected players signed up for duty. Those competing in the AFC Cup – currently underway in the Maldives – for their respective clubs will join the camp when the tournament is over.

India XI rode on another half strike from Akash Mishra to win by a lone goal.

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“I’m really happy and grateful for the organization of this game and we will do our best to have games like this,” Stimac said. “We will not mind having such matches on a regular basis and maybe in another seven days we might think and want another training game like this,” the coach said.

“Kolkata is a great football venue, and during the pandemic when it’s hard to find games, this is one of the best places to train.”

This is the first time in 15 years that the national camp is being organized in Kolkata. The last time it was held was in 2006 ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Saudi Arabia.

“I was careful that my players did not get injured and wanted to understand how they handled the match. They went on the field after a long time and without much practice, “said Stimac.

Stimac, who trained Croatia to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, also suggested he “might consider releasing Sandesh Jhingan from the ongoing camp.”

Referring to Sandesh’s move to Croatia to play League Football, Stimac said: “Given that the Croatian league has already had five rounds and the players are in shape, we are thinking about how we can help Sandesh to get in shape as soon as possible and also try to facilitate him get his place in the team. It’s important for him to get into the playing XI. So we can consider releasing him from the camp and bringing him back, but allow him to stay in the club, ”said the coach.

India travel to Kathmandu later this month to play Nepal in two international friendlies in September. “It is very difficult to organize matches in such circumstances. You have to understand that no one is able to come to India and if we want to go out to play, there are quarantine rules. So the possibilities are very limited, ”he added.

“We had agreed to play Libya and Jordan in Istanbul first. But the long quarantine in Istanbul did not allow us to continue the fighting. We also looked at other options where we agreed to play Nepal and Malaysia in Nepal. But Malaysia could not travel due to quarantine rules at home in their country, “said the coach.

“Now we have to prepare for the next 12 days before we go to Nepal. We also have the SAFF Championship in October followed by the AFC U-23 qualifiers — perhaps the best solution is to stay with the U23 team throughout October. ”

–IANS

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