India invited to participate in Thailand's King’s Cup
Written by: Anjishnu Roy
This will be the Blue Tigers' first international engagement since their exit from the AFC Asian Cup earlier this year.
The India national football team has received a formal invitation to participate in the King’s Cup which is to be held in June this year in Thailand, confirmed the The All India Football Federation (AIFF).
India were knocked out in the group stages of the recently concluded AFC Asian Cup. They began their campaign with a statement 1-4 victory over Thailand, but fell flat against Bahrain and the UAE. Stephen Constantine resigned in the aftermath of the disappointing exit and the apex body of Indian football hasn’t announced his successor yet.
“We are planning to have a few matches for the new coach before the World Cup qualifiers (in September). The King’s Cup is a very good tournament and will provide the new coach with a fair assessment of the team,” commented AIFF’s national team director, Abhishek Yadav.
The King’s Cup is a tournament between four teams. Having been founded in 1968, the event has been organized on annually since then, with a few exceptions. Often invites are also extended to clubs and many popular players have taken part in the competition, including the likes of Peter Schmeichel, Henrik Larsson, Robert Lewandowski, Milan Skriniar as well as Ronaldinho, Cafu, Roberto Carlos and Rivaldo who arrived with the 1999 Brazil team.
Last year, the tournament featured Thailand, Gabon, the UAE and eventual winners Slovakia. This year, according to reports, invites have also been sent to Vietnam who may opt out because of prior commitments and China who drew 0-0 against Constantine’s India last year. Apart from these teams, the organizers are also hopeful of attracting a team from Europe.
The competition is held during the international break between club seasons in June and July, when continental championships like the Copa America, CONCACAF Gold Cup and Africa Nations Cup are played.
Despite not having a new manager yet, India have appointed former Indian player and former head coach of Salgaocar FC and technical director of FC Goa, Derrick Pereira as the head coach of the U-23 national team. And as per the General Secretary of the AIFF, Kushal Das, Pereira may be appointed as the manager of the senior national side by April-May, a tentative period the apex body had previously demarcated to announce Constantine’s successor.
India had previously taken part in the King’s Cup only once in 1977 where they stood third.
Published: Fri Mar 08, 2019 03:32 PM IST