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AIFF considers New Zealand, Arsenal star Henrikh Mkhitaryan's Armenia for Four-Nation Tournament in September

Soumo Ghosh
FEATURED COLUMNIST
News
5.32K   //    23 Jan 2018, 12:35 IST

Henrikh Mkhitaryan's Armenia could be coming to play India later this year.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan's Armenia could be coming to play India later this year.

In a bid to improve India's FIFA rankings, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is looking to invite some high-profile teams to play in a four-nation invitational tournament, to be held later this year.

Indian football has experienced a massive spurt 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.

Now, the AIFF is looking to get some top teams from Europe, to take part in the four-nation invitational tournament, which is likely to be held in Bengaluru, in September, a federation official revealed to Sportskeeda.

According to sources close to the federation, the AIFF is said to be looking at teams like 2010 World Cup finallists New Zealand, and Armenia -- a team that features star playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who made the switch from Manchester United to Arsenal on Monday.

The AIFF had already hosted another invitational tournament last year, when the likes of St Kitts & Nevis and Mauritius came to play in India. While there were talks of bringing another high-profile team, that did not materialise.

India had won last year's Tri-Nation Tournament, but the Blue Tigers will be looking to get results against higher ranked teams, in order to climb up the FIFA Rankings quicker. A higher ranking ahead of the 2019 Asian Cup could ensure an easier group for India in the main event.

The Indians have been on brilliant form in recent times, and have even gone on a 13-match unbeaten run, something that has propelled them up in the rankings. However, the Blue Tigers have mostly been playing sides that are ranked considerably lower than then, and it would be interesting to see how they match-up against the likes of Mkhitaryan and co, should they come to India.

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