Indian Football

Indian football team to play two international friendlies in March

Ali Shibil Roshan
India will play two friendlies in March
India will play two friendlies in March / DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/GettyImages
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The Indian senior men's national football team will play two international friendlies in March, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) confirmed on February 4.

The Blue Tigers will face Bahrain on March 23 and Belarus on March 26. Both matches will be played in Manama, Bahrain. The two friendlies are part of the preparation for the national team's campaign in the 2023 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers, which is scheduled to be held in June.

"Given the current circumstances, it was extremely difficult to find the kind of opponents we were looking for. But I am very happy that we have the two matches on our schedule," Igor Stimac said.

He added: "We are doing our best to prepare well for the upcoming final qualifying round of the AFC Asian Cup China 2023, and these two matches will immensely facilitate our preparatory process."

Both Bahrain and Belarus are ranked higher than India in the FIFA rankings, and Stimac said playing against better teams is the best way to improve 'our own game'. For the record, Bahrain and Belarus are at 91st and 94th in the FIFA rankings, while India are at 104th.

"Both Bahrain and Belarus are ranked higher than us, and if all goes well with the Hero ISL season with our boys putting in good performances, and playing competitive games we should be ready," Stimac said.

"Playing against better teams is the best way to improve our own game, as that allows the boys the chance to mature playing against, and with better speed. Our youngsters need more exposure and time to play, and practice. Sometimes results may suffer, but if we follow the path, we will have a better future soon," added the Croatian.


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