The Indian football team will be busy in the coming days as the news has come out that the All India Football Federation has set up a friendly date with two other nations. The international friendlies will be a part of the preparations for the AFC Asian Qualifiers. And the matches are scheduled to be played in the second half of the year 2017.
The news states that AIFF has blocked two international friendly dates with Lebanon in the month of June. The second match will be played in the month of October, and the opponent will be Palestine. To be precise India vs Lebanon encounter will take place on June 7, 2017, while the India vs Palestine encounter will take place on October 2, 2017. However, we are yet to be confirmed of the venues which will host the international friendlies that India will play this year.
Regarding the two matches against Lebanon and Palestine, Kushal Das, General Secretary of AIFF, has been quoted saying, “The AIFF is leaving no stone unturned to provide the best of preparation for the national team. I hope the two matches would serve as an ideal build-up for future matches in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers.” Stephen Constantine has commented, “The best way to test your growth is to play against stronger teams. Both Lebanon and Palestine are very strong teams, and the matches would help the team immensely as we move forward.”
India are currently scheduled to play Cambodia in yet another friendly on March 22. And for that, they are currently in Phnom Penh preparing for the AFC Cup qualifier against Myanmar which is scheduled to be played on March 29. Incidentally, Myanmar are currently ranked at the 159th spot in the FIFA rankings. Cambodia are further down on the 172nd spot. India currently hold the 130th spot on the table according to the latest rankings released by FIFA. The ‘Blue Tigers’ have been demoted from the 129th spot which has been one of the highest rankings that they have received in the recent past.