This could be a golden chance of preparation for the Indians before the Asian Games and SAFF Suzuki Cup.
According to reports in Thailand, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is in advanced talks with the Football Association of Thailand with the intention of playing a friendly match in June.
The President of the Thai FA, Gen. Somyot Poomphanang revealed that the Thailand National Team is likely to play friendlies with India and China- the report said. According to the President, the friendly is most likely to take place between the last week of May and the first week of June, two months before the Asian Games and three months before the SAFF Suzuki Cup.
In their most recent outing, the Indian side fell victim to a defeat against the Kyrgyz Republic in Bishkek in their final AFC Asian Cup 2019 Qualifier. Despite the defeat, the Men in Blue concluded their qualifiers on top of their respective group and are set to return to the AFC Asian Cup after a seven-year-long absence. Since then, the latest FIFA rankings have put them in the 97th place, whereas they were previously positioned in the 99th place.
The Indians have met their Thai counterparts 23 times in history with Thailand winning the majority of the games (11) compared to India (5). Seven of these 23 fixtures were concluded as a draw between these two countries.
Surprisingly, India’s decision to play a friendly against Thailand comes at a time when the AFC Asian Cup’s pots have already been drawn. Previously, Khel Now had discussed India’s peculiar practice of playing against weaker opposition and avoiding more powerful ones to improve their FIFA rankings for an easier draw at the AFC Asian Cup. However, at this time a draw or defeat against Thailand would not hurt India’s chances for an easier draw at the continental tournament.
On the contrary, a defeat against the Thais would once again fuel fans’ outrage against Stephen Constantine. The English head coach was subject to much criticism from supporters and pundits alike and Khel Now discussed it with a detailed analysis of the tactician’s progress with the Blue Tigers.
With the Asian Games and the SAFF Suzuki Cup approaching in August and September respectively, this could be an ideal match for Constantine’s men. In their recent outings, the experienced tactician has been the subject of criticism regarding the selection and strategy and can experiment with new players and ideas against the 122nd placed Thailand before the two tournaments.