India vs Jordan: Stephen Constantine's side can learn plenty for Asian Cup by playing in Amman
Excitement amongst Indian football fans knows no bounds as the AFC Asian Cup is ever so close. India are pitted in Group A against Thailand (FIFA Rank - 108), Bahrain (FIFA Rank - 107), and United Arab Emirates (FIFA Rank - 82) in the continent's biggest football event.
This will only be India's 4th appearance in the Asian Cup after featuring in the 1964, 1984, and 2011 editions. Their best-ever finish was in 1964 when they had finished runners-up. However, there were only 4 teams in that edition as most of the teams backed out. In India's last appearance in 2011, India lost all of their 3 Group stage matches against Australia, South Korea, and Bahrain and were eliminated.
A lot has changed since 2011 and it is a completely new-look Indian side. There have been a lot of new talents scouted thanks to the emergence of the ISL.
In a bid to prepare themselves for the all-important tournament in January of 2019, Stephen Constantine and his troops have played one International friendly against China and will play another against Jordan on the 17th of November. They also lifted the Intercontinental Cup trophy this year.
The Blue Tigers held China to a 0-0 draw at the Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium on October 13, 2018. However, the Indian team got lucky as China hit the crossbar on a few occasions and their custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was in sublime form and pulled off some gravity-defying saves.
An interesting thing to note in the upcoming match against Jordan is that the weather conditions in Amman (Jordan) will be quite identical to what they will be in UAE. The torrential rain which delayed the Indian national team's flight to Amman is expected to clear out by Saturday.
According to the predicted weather, The temperature is expected to be nearly the same, with a high of 20-25 degrees. Pleasant conditions will be there in both Amman and UAE with slight chances of moderate rain. The weather conditions can prove to be quite influential in the performance of any football team.
Indian players are used to a hot and humid weather which causes excessive perspiration and a loss of peak performance. Even in cities like Bangalore and Pune -- where the weather is considered pleasant -- the high temperature reaches the 30s and there is also high humidity which makes giving your 100 per cent -- at all times -- really tough.
Playing in Amman can prove to be a huge advantage for the Indian national team as they can get acclimatized to the pleasant playing conditions, which will later be there in the UAE as well during the Asian Cup.
The Blue Tigers will have the license to go full throttle in the upcoming match against Jordan as their stamina, after playing in Indian conditions, will allow that. It will also act as a litmus test and Constantine would want to see which players can push themselves.
Even the Air quality in Amman and UAE -- both -- is far better than that in India and comes in the good to moderate (0-100) Air Quality Index range.
India play their first Asian Cup match against Thailand at the Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi, their 2nd match against UAE at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi, and their 3rd match against Bahrain at the Sharjah Stadium in Sharjah.
After Jordan, the Indian team is also slated to play another International friendly against the national football team of Oman on 31st December, just before the Asian Cup.
For now, Indian players must thrive and get accustomed to what the weather conditions will be in the middle-east as they face Jordan at the King Abdullah II International Stadium in Amman.