The International Friendly against Lebanon was recently cancelled due to visa issues and the AIFF was looking for a replacement. . .

The Indian National team has found another suitor for an International friendly to be played on 6th June. The Blue Tigers are set to face neighbouring country Nepal to prepare for their AFC Asian Cup qualifier on 13th June against the Kyrgyz Republic. 

Khel Now sources have confirmed that the Nepal Football Federation have accepted the proposal and will visit the country just prior to the friendly. The game will be played at the Andheri Sports Complex in Mumbai, where the National team camp is set to take place from 20th May where the 35-probables will work together to make it to the 23-men final list. 

Nepal is currently ranked 170 on the FIFA rankings’ chart and have always been India’s go-to team in case of emergencies and shortcomings. It will not be hugely beneficial for the Blue Tigers in terms of quality, but Nepal will surely take the game very seriously as they’ve always regarded the South Asian champions highly. 

Meanwhile, Nepal is taking on Yemen at home on June 13 at the APF Halchowk Stadium.

Nepal head coach Gyotoki Koji has already begun preparations for the match against Yemen since the last two weeks. He has called on 32 players in the training, out of which Rabin Shrestha, Rohit Chand and Kiran Kumar Limbu have not been able to attend. Rabin had gone under the knife for a knee injury, while Kiran and Rohit are abroad.

Khel Now had recently reported that India’s upcoming friendly with the Lebanon had been cancelled due to issues in obtaining visas for the Lebanese squad. The game which was to be held at the Andheri Sports Complex in Mumbai on 7th June and was being seen as vital preparation for the Blue Tigers’ upcoming AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Kyrgyzstan.

The Lebanese FA had requested that its squad be given visas on arrival contending that since most of the players played in leagues overseas it was difficult to obtain prior visas. However, the Government of India clarified that Lebanese citizens cannot be given visa on arrival, after which the West Asian team decided to pull out of the proposed friendly.

It is understood that the All India Football Federation was working to find new opponents for Stephen Constantine’s men and has finally found it and it is now a good omen that the Blue Tigers will head into the qualifier with some game-time under their belt.

India got off to a winning start in their qualification campaign with an away win against Myanmar last time out and have only recently climbed into the top 100 in the FIFA rankings. They will take on Kyrgyzstan on 13th June at the Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru. Captain and talisman Sunil Chhetri scored the key winning goal in the game against Myanmar on 28th March, with Udanta Singh making a vital run on the right wing. 

It has been reported that Chhetri has picked up an injury in the Federation Cup semi-finals and is set to be out for the season. It remains to be seen how he develops on the medical front and his recovery will be a major boost for the Blue Tigers. 

Five players who were criminally left out of the 35-men probables list by Stephen Constantine.

The list of 35 probables is as follows:

GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Subrata Paul, Debjit Majumdar, Amrinder Singh, Albino Gomes, Vishal Kaith (U-22).

DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Nishu Kumar (U-22), Arnab Mondal, Sandesh Jhingan, Anas Edathodika, Chinglensana Singh (U-22), Lalruatthara (U-22), Fulganco Cardozo, Subhasish Bose (U-22), Narayan Das, Jerry Lalrinzuala (U-22).

MIDFIELDERS: Jackichand Singh, Udanta Singh, Laldanmawia Ralte (U-22), Seityasen Singh, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Rowllin Borges, Cavin Lobo, Md. Rafique, Dhanapal Ganesh, Milan Singh, Issac Vanmalsawma (U-22), Halicharan Narzary, Bikash Jairu.

FORWARDS: Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Daniel Lahlimpuia, Robin Singh, CK Vineeth.