The Blue Tigers last played an international game in June, during the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers.
The Indian national football team might be back in action during the FIFA international break in August-September. The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) has shown interest in hosting a game against India in their home country during this period, according to reports in the Malaysian media.
FAM general secretary Stuart Ramalingam confirmed that they are trying to organize two friendly games for the August 30 – September 7 period. There will be a worldwide International break during that period, which will be effective in Asia too.
Speaking about intentions of hosting two friendly games, Ramalingam told Bernama, as reported by Malay Mail, “AFC have also agreed to cooperate and assist FAM in undertaking the two international friendlies utilizing the biomedical bubble concept in August-September.
“FAM will in no way take any risk concerning the safety of players, officials and all Malaysians. We are confident that we can implement this biomedical bubble in a safe and secure manner for the safety of all parties involved.”
In doing so, the FAM general secretary confirmed they were considering three teams for the games. Among those are India, Palestine and Taiwan. However, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is yet to make a statement on the matter.
What has happened so far
The AIFF recently handed a one-year contract extension to Igor Stimac, the head coach of the Blue Tigers. He will definitely be hoping to organize more games going forward so as to implement his philosophy perfectly and get more wins. As Malaysia are at 153rd place in the FIFA rankings, a game against them could be an enticing proposition.
During that international break, national teams can play multiple friendly games to boost their FIFA rankings. During the last break in March, India played two friendlies against Oman and the UAE. Stimac rotated his team, resulting in a draw and a heavy loss.
The last time the Blue Tigers were in action was in June. They won only one out of their final three FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers . Eventually, they finished in third place in their group. With India needing more wins in competitive international games to improve their FIFA ranking, they could accept Malaysia’s proposal for a game.
With the next Indian Super League (ISL) season set to begin in November, Stimac could also get the majority of his senior players for selection. He could, however, be forced to select a squad without players from ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC. This is because of their AFC cup duties in late August.
India have won 10 games in 27 meetings against Malaysia in international competition, drawing seven. Having won just twice as India tactician before the contract extension, Stimac will be determined to improve on that record.