Team India's former captain Bhaichung Bhutia who is now the new co-opted Executive committee member of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is looking forward to the men’s national team’s international friendlies in Vietnam which he feels will be an important experience for the side.
India play Singapore (September 24) and hosts Vietnam (September 27) in the Hung Thinh Friendly Football Tournament and Bhutia believes the games will help the players prepare for the AFC Asian Cup in June 2023.
“I think it’s great for our national team that they are going to play some matches there. I think it will be a good tour. Vietnam are a very good team. So are Singapore. It’s going to be a useful experience for the players,” Bhutia told the AIFF website.
The AIFF Executive Committee approved the Technical Committee’s recommendation to renew the contract of head coach Igor Stimac till the end of the AFC Asian Cup 2023. Bhutia welcomed the decision suggesting that it will help everyone associated with the team to focus on the preparations
“It is a very sensible decision taken by the committee because we are not left with too much time before we plunge into the Asian Cup battle. The extension will help coaches and the players feel more comfortable and will give them ample time to build on what they have been doing for the last three to four years. So hopefully, I think this match and the preparation for Asia Cup would now be much better”, Bhutia said.
The new longer Indian football season that has already begun with the Durand Cup and will further commence with the Hero Indian Super League and the Super Cup will serve the Indian national team players well for the AFC Asian Cup as they will be at the peak of their fitness levels when they feature in the AFC Asian Cup.
The Blue Tigers who narrowly missed out on a knockout stage berth in 2019 will look to pass that hurdle in June next year.