India likely to play friendlies against Saudi Arabia and China in October-November
Written by: Rohan Philip
The games being discussed are part of the team's ongoing preparations for next year's AFC Asian Cup.
The Indian national team is all set to face up to Saudi Arabia and China as they prepare for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup. Head Coach Stephen Constantine had citied the recently concluded Intercontinental Cup, which his team won, as the initial stage of their preparation for the tournament.
"We are in talks with them and it's almost 90 percent. We are trying to arrange one home and one away game around October-November," confirmed Kushal Das, the General Secretary of the All India Football Federation to PTI.
Watch: India captain Sunil Chhetri looks back at his career before his 100th game for the country
The two games will be played against teams that are placed higher than India in the FIFA rankings, with Saudi Arabia, who are participating in the FIFA World Cup in Russia, ranked 67th and China ranked 75th while India are ranked 97th.
The Asian Cup will consist of the top 24 teams from Asia, who have been grouped into six groups of four with the top two teams from each group progressing to the round of 16 of the tournament, along with the four best third-placed teams.
A top official from AIFF has said that they will be looking to organize international matches in accordance to the new ranking system introduced by FIFA. India who are ranked 14th in Asia will be buoyed by their recent success in the Intercontinental Cup, where Indian captain, Sunil Chhetri scored eight goals to lead his side to the title.
At the upcoming Asian Cup, India have been placed in Group A, where they are joined by the UAE, Thailand and Bahrain, as they make their fourth appearance in the tournament. The Blue Tigers will hope for a better result than their previous attempts where they finished runners-up to Israel in 1964 and crashed out of the group stages in 1984.
Fans will hope to see India’s talisman, Sunil Chhetri lead the team to further success after he recently pulled on par with the Argentine magician Lionel Messi on 64 international goals.
The Asian Cup will begin on 5th January next year and is set to run till the 1st of February, with the games being played across eight centres across the United Arab Emirates.
Published: Tue Jun 19, 2018 01:23 PM IST