The announcement of the International Friendlies against Bahrain and Belarus in March have been welcomed by the India men’s football team, who mentioned that the matches present “a huge opportunity for us as a nation, and as a team to rub shoulders against such great teams”.
Current AIFF Player of the Year Sandesh Jhingan in an official release was quoted as saying: “This is possibly one of the best news in recent times. That such International Friendlies could be arranged by AIFF under current circumstances speaks volumes.”
The Senior Indian Men’s National Team is scheduled to play two International Friendlies against Bahrain and Belarus on March 23, and March 26 respectively.
“These are the sort of matches that we need. We played Bahrain last time in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, and are aware they are a very good side. We also understand that Belarus is a powerful side too,” Sandesh added.
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National Team goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu said: “It will be an extremely tough challenge, and a good one to play a side from a UEFA Member Association, which in itself is a big achievement.”
“Teams in UEFA get to play against the best in the world as they regularly rub shoulders against them. So, they will come with all the experience, and present us the perfect opportunity to test ourselves,” the India goalkeeper added.
“The Federation has done a great job arranging these two matches. I see this as a real step moving forward towards our preparation ahead of the final round of the Asian Cup qualifiers in June 2022,” he feels.
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Star midfielder Anirudh Thapa also stressed that the two matches will be an “exhilarating experience.”
“A lot of teams haven’t had a chance to play competitive matches due to the pandemic. And here we are, with two matches scheduled against Bahrain and Belarus. I feel we are lucky, and playing against such competent sides will be an exhilarating experience,” he opined.
“Such matches will not only facilitate and advertise the development of Indian Football on the global stage, but also lay a foundation for the upcoming generation to learn from our hits, and misses,” the young midfielder added.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.