In an attempt to rub shoulders consistently with the big boys, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has organised a set of friendlies against countries such as Portugal and Italy, during a tour of the former in late April.
Apart from these difficult fixtures, India’s football governing body has sent invites to countries such as Hungary, Morocco and Bulgaria for international friendlies in June.
Newly appointed coach Luis de Matos confirmed this development, stating that he was willing to lose all friendlies for a win in the World Cup Opener.
He told Sportskeeda, “A lot of people told me it will be a big jump for the team, but what will happen once we play the World Cup? All the teams there will not only be the best in the world, but will also attempt to strike their best form during the tournament.
Hence it doesn’t make any sense for us to play against easy opponents. The weather also is a major issue during May/June, hence the place we are going to will have similar weather in September or October in India.”
The AIFF also confirmed India’s participation at the Lazio Cup, which will boast of quality clubs such as Fiorentina from Italy, Sparta Prague from Czech Republic and Partizan Belgrade in Serbia.
He added, “We do have our hands full, but this is the only way we can be competitive at the World Cup is by playing these kind of teams.
As a coach, I believe in that philosophy and I’m quite satisfied that the friendlies have been confirmed.” The Lazio Cup will be held between May 23 – May 28 in Frosinone.
However, sources close to Sportskeeda also confirmed that the team could play the PSG U-17 side in late April.
The exposure tour is scheduled to begin on April 10, with AIFF also attempting to schedule a friendly against Austria this month.
culled from sportskeeda