With the second COVID-19 wave rampant in India, the All Indian Football Federation (AIFF) has decided to send the footballers to Qatar to prepare for the World Cup qualifiers in Qatar in June. Taking to Twitter, Indian Football Team wrote: “The #BlueTigers will soon be leaving for Qatar for the preparatory camp ahead of the June Qualifiers. The final departure date will be announced soon, once official confirmation from the health authorities is received.” While India is out of reckoning for a 2022 FIFA World Cup spot, but the matches against Qatar, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are crucial with an eye on the 2023 Asian Cup. Earlier, the Indian team played two friendly matches against Oman and UAE in March. India drew the game against Oman and coach Igor Stimac was really happy with the team’s efforts. “From 19-11-2019 to 25-03-2021, the world has seen more struggles than ever. But, as the coach of @IndianFootball, it gives me immense pride that the beautiful country has evolved with a renewed vigour to rewrite Indian football history. “That’s the reason we could see 10 debutants with unbridled energy coming with hunger and fighting shoulder to shoulder against the likes of @OmanFA who were 23 spots ahead of us in the @FIFAcom rankings — but they dared to fight back. “Our task is far from being done. It’s the process that started yesterday night 2000 km away from home and it’ll continue until we come out with a team of #BlueTigers who will fulfil the dream of 1.4 billion Indians!” he had tweeted. Unfortunately, India lost the next game against UAE 0-6 — the heaviest defeat since 2010. The two friendlies were played as the team was looking to keep preparations on for the joint-qualification round of the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup.
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