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2018 is one of the most crucial years for the Indian football team. With less than just 12 months on the dot till the nation marches out for their Asian Cup opener, it is almost positively confirmed that India will be in Pot 3 for the Asian Cup draw in April; they have just the one game against Kyrgyzstan left before that and they will likely have to make it to the high 80s in FIFA rankings to get to Pot 2. So this implies that there will be one lower-ranked team in India's group which would stand as a golden chance for the team to grab a first win since the year 1964. Whether the team would hit the jackpot would depend on how the team prepares itself over the next 12 months and the All India Football Federation is firming up its prep plans. The major red dot on their calendar is a four-nation tournament in June this year which would be the 2018 version of the one that was held in Mumbai last year as a tri-nation tournament, featuring St. Kitts and Nevis and Mauritius. This year the federation is on an even more ambitious roll. Federation sources hinted out to the press, 'Things are in the planning phase right now and we will start sending out invites over the next couple of weeks...We are planning the tournament in either late May or early June. We want each team to be from a different continent. The Asian Cup draw will be over by the time the tournament starts. The emphasis will be on playing strong opponents rather than boosting rankings. So we will look to ensure that every team that comes over is stronger than, or at least as strong as, India is.' So, the big curious question raised is which countries are going to smash this time. The names that are being discussed at the AIFF headquarters are some haughty ones. They're planning to send invites to New Zealand who played the World Cup in 2010 and Armenia, who boasts the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan in their ranks. The AIFF source told the media, 'Of course, just because we invite them doesn't mean they will accept and come. But we think that any team that hasn't qualified for the World Cup will seriously consider our proposal.' Source: massispost Indian football has experienced a massive gush in the last couple of years, with the team making it to the top 100s in the FIFA rankings for the first time in over two decades, last year. However, they have fallen to 105 since then and will be looking to get as high a ranking as possible, in the lead up to the 2019 Asian Cup. AIFF Secretary, Kushal Das is confident that things will work out. 'We are looking at having a camp of 30-35 days in December,' he told the Indian Express. He added, 'Before that we will play friendlies in October and November. We will look at introducing a break in the ISL during this period so that teams will have no complaints about missing players.' The tournament will most likely be held in Bengaluru. In September this year, the U-23 team (with three senior players) will be participating in the Asian Games as well as the SAFF Cup in Bangladesh which would start just days after the Asian Games end. The Indian Express read, 'There also plans to play friendlies on the FIFA dates in October and November. But after that comes a bit of a grey area ' federation officials talk of a 'long break' in December before the Asian Cup starts, possibly a month-long camp. But just how receptive various Indian Super League clubs will be to losing their best players for two months, remains to be seen'. So this year is definitely a hot headed one for the Indian football team.