The Indian football team will play friendlies against Oman and United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Dubai next month in the run up to the resumption of their World Cup qualifying campaign, according to a report by The Times of India. The Blue Tigers will face Oman on March 25 and then square off against UAE on March 29. The two friendly matches will take place during the Indian team’s training camp which is scheduled to take place in Dubai from March 15 to 31 after the conclusion of the Indian Super League (ISL) which has its final match scheduled for March 13.
India are currently fourth in Group E of the World Cup qualifiers with three points from five games. Qatar and Oman occupy the top two positions in the group currently with 13 and 12 points respectively. Sunil Chhetri and company will however be looking to bag a third-place finish which will give them a direct berth in the third round of qualifiers for the 2023 Asian Cup. The battle resumes on June 3 when India take on Qatar before matches against Bangladesh (June 7) and Afghanistan (June 15) round off their qualifying campaign. All the matches will be played at a centralized venue, most probably Qatar.
The report also suggests that head coach Igor Stimac has prepared a list of potential candidates which has as many as 50 names on it with a number of youngsters making the cut. However, that number may have to be trimmed down considering the fact that the camp will now be held in Dubai instead of Goa as initially planned. Despite that, it would be a great opportunity for the young guns to rub shoulders with the senior pros in the side and eventually take on two of the biggest footballing nations in Asia.