New Delhi [India]: As part of their preparation for the forthcoming AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers 2019, the Indian football team will be taking on Cambodia in an international friendly in Phnom Penh tomorrow.
India last won an away International Friendly way back in June 2006 – a solitary goal victory against Pakistan, a side which was captained by present Team Manager Shanmugam Venkatesh.
The upcoming clash will be India’s first friendly since the 4-1 win against Puerto Rico on home soil in September last year.
But the turf at Phnom Penh, National Coach Stephen Constantine believes “is an artificial one”.
“We will be playing on an artificial turf. We would have preferred to play on grass. But we need to adjust. It is a very important match for us ahead of the crucial match against Myanmar in the AFC Cup Qualifiers. I thank AIFF for arranging the same,” he said.
“There are 4-5 players who are carrying slight niggles so I haven’t yet decided on the starting XI. Let me see what suits us best,” the Coach stated. “The weather conditions in Phnom Penh are quite similar to that in Yangon and it will be a good test for us.”
For the record, goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu will be leading the side on Wednesday, his second consecutive match as the national team captain.
The squad of 24 headed to Phnom Penh after training in Mumbai and though the boys started assembling from March 13th onwards, it was not before March 15th that the entire squad assembled for those “rigorous training sessions.”
“You need International games to develop as a Team and the AIFF has confirmed International friendlies until October which is very positive. The more you play the more Team chemistry you develop and the more the Players gel,” Constantine maintained.
“There is a very healthy competition to get into the starting XI. It is a huge honour to get selected for India and the Players understand that. The philosophy in the team stays that there are no guarantees for anyone and you need to work hard to stay in the squad and work harder to get into the Starting XI.”
India are slated to begin their campaign in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers against Myanmar in Yangon. (ANI)