The Blue Tigers will undergo mandatory RT-PCR tests before their departure.

The Indian football team will leave for Qatar on May 19 ahead of their remaining FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers, Khel Now has learned. It has also been understood that the team will remain in a bio-bubble, as a result of which the Qatari government has waived off their 10-day hard quarantine.

“With the FIFA World Cup Qualifying games in sight, the Indian football team will travel to Qatar on May 19. The players will be subjected to mandatory RT-PCR tests before leaving,” a source close to the developments informed Khel Now.

The source added, “As they will be staying within a bio bubble, there is no need for a hard quarantine.”

India will play the first game of their remaining FIFA World Cup Qualifiers on June 3 against Qatar, followed by matches against Bangladesh and Afghanistan on June 7 and June 15, respectively. Prior to the qualifiers, the team will attend a two-week camp in Qatar. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) are currently trying to arrange practice matches for the Blue Tigers, who will play those games during the camp.

What happened so far

For long, the COVID-19 crisis has hampered India’s preparations for the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. The second wave of the coronavirus outbreak saw positive cases rising at an alarming rate, resulting in lockdowns all across the country.

Earlier this month, the AIFF had also tried to transport the team to Qatar. But, their efforts went in vain after the Gulf nation imposed restrictions on foreign travellers. The Blue Tigers are currently in fourth place in Group E with three points from five matches. Reigning Asian champions Qatar top the table with 13 points, while Oman are second with 12 points.

As of right now, Igor Stimac and Co. are aiming for a third-place finish in the group. This, in turn, will provide them with a direct spot in the third round of the Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers.

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