The Indian football team has successfully reached the destination for their next friendly - Nepal. The Blue Tigers will face their Asian counterparts in two friendlies at the Dasarath Stadium in Nepal. With players returning from AFC Cup campaigns. India will be expecting a stellar performance in both games. Speaking about their opponents, Captain Sunil Chetri said:
"Nepal are a very tough side, especially when they play against us, and we are aware of the extreme challenge the two matches present us."
He further added:
"This is an excellent opportunity for us to improve as a team. Given the current circumstances, it wasn’t easy to get a friendly game. The Nepal Federation and Government invited us to play, and we thank them for the opportunity and the gesture."
India's form in the build-up to the game
India have not been in great form coming into their game against Nepal. The Blue Tigers have only won 1 out of their last 5 games. Their last victory was a 2-0 win against Bangladesh in the AFC World Cup Qualifying stage. Both of their goals there were scored by the sensational Sunil Chhetri.
The weather in Nepal has been overcast for days now. There has been a heavy downpour for the past week and it is expected to be the same throughout the duration of both the games. India trained at Koklata, where conditions were overcast as well. Even their match against SC Mohammedan was rain-affected. The Indians managed to come out victorious in that game.
As serious as the game of football can be at times, there are moments outside the pitch where footballers have their fun. In the Indian team, it is often Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who seems to lighten the mood of the camp. The star keeper continued his antics as he took the microphone and said:
“Welcome to Nepal. This is your captain speaking – O I am sorry – this is your vice-captain speaking."
The keeper had some words of caution and motivation for the team as he further added:
"Don’t forget to wash your hands. Stay safe, train hard, rest well and let’s win this."
The squad for the friendlies has many young players that have been impressive at club level. One of them is the baby-faced Salal Abdul Samad. The skilled midfielder won over the hearts of the Indians with his sensational performance in the 2018-2019 Indian Super League season.
His trickery helped him bag the award for the ISL Emerging Player of the Season. Soon after the brilliant season, Sahal made his entry into the senior national team. He made his debut against Curacao in the 2019 King's Cup. Going to Nepal for the first time with the national team, Sahal was seen taking care of his boots. While talking to the AIFF website, he said:
"These are part of my armor."
He further added:
"We trained very hard at the camp, and for a reason. This is my first visit to Nepal. In fact, for most of us, this is the first time we are here. It is up to us to make this a memorable one.”
After a successful few games with his club ATK Mohun Bagan in the AFC Cup, ace Indian defender Pritam Kotal is all set to shine for his for the country. He was sitting at the window seat and reminiscing about his past memories in Nepal. Speaking to the AIFF website, Pritam said:
"It was here that I played my second International match. So, a visit to Nepal will always be special for me."
He further added:
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"I missed the preparatory camp in Kolkata but was with my club for the AFC Cup, and the best part is that we got some match practice."