The Indian national football team will be playing a couple of friendly matches against Nepal in the build-up to the SAFF Championships, in October. Currently, the Igor Stimac coached side is undergoing a preparatory camp in Kolkata before they head straight to Kathmandu for the proposed fixtures.
The Indian national team last played an international match against Afghanistan during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, in Qatar. It was a few days back that the squad assembled for a national camp in Kolkata, ahead of the future assignments, as they kicked-off with a friendly match against IFA XI, on August 16. However, some of the players on club duty for the AFC Cup, along with Sandesh Jhinghan are absent from the camp.
As per the reports, the Blue Tigers will be playing a couple of friendly matches with Nepal, in September ahead of the SAFF Championships, which kicks-off in the following month. Initially, India was on the course to play matches against Libya and Jordan in Istanbul, but the robust quarantine compelled them to take a step back.
Following this, matches against Nepal and Malaysia in Kathmandu emerged as the most feasible option, but Malaysia could not travel due to the quarantine rules in their country. However, the dates for the matches against Nepal are yet to be announced.
"It is very difficult to organise matches under such circumstances. You need to understand that no one is able to come to India and if we want to go out to play there are quarantine rules. So the options are very limited," said Igor Stimac.
“We had agreed to first play Libya and Jordan in Istanbul. But the long duration of quarantine in Istanbul didn't allow us to proceed with the matches. We also looked at other options wherein we agreed to play Nepal and Malaysia in Nepal. But Malaysia couldn't travel owing to quarantine rules back home in their country."