The team were originally slated to travel to the US before the tour was called off…

All India Football Federation has arranged for two International matches for the Indian U-23 National Team as part of the preparation process for the forthcoming AFC U-23 Championships slated to be held in Doha.

National Coach Stephen Constantine felt the games would be a “learning experience” for the team.

“It’s been two weeks that we have been together and the U-23 boys need competitive games. The tour to Singapore would be a valuable experience for the squad to gauge the intensity of International encounters. I thank AIFF for arranging the matches ahead of our AFC Qualifiers,” he stated.

“The games would be competitive and provide us the much needed exposure,” he further added. It has been under Constantine’s coaching that the Senior Indian National Team has jumped 73 places in the FIFA Rankings to be currently placed 100.

AIFF General Secretary Mr. Kushal Das said the primary objective of the AIFF is to provide the “best exposure to all National Teams.”

“It is really frustrating that despite applying well in advance and after multiple follow-ups for the US visas we failed to get any response from the concerned authorities. I need to thank the Singapore FA for agreeing to the two International matches which would provide valuable practice for our U-23 boys prior to the AFC U-23 Qualifiers,” he said.

The U-23 Team presently preparing in the Capital since June 19 will fly to Singapore in the first week of July from where they will directly proceed to take on Turkmenistan, Qatar and Syria in Group C from July 19 onwards.

It must be recalled that the team, who are set to play the AFC Asian U-23 Championship later this year, were originally to travel to the United States of America as part of their continuing preparation for the tournament, but as happened with the senior team the tour was cancelled at the last minute. The team has been holding a training camp and nationalwide trials in recent weeks, from which four new players were selected to be part of the group.

While the reasons behind the cancellation of the US tour are not known itis rumoured the team were unable to secure visas much like their senior compatriots. Nonetheless, they will be looking to make the most of the upcoming games against the Southeast Asian powerhouse.