The 27-member Indian squad for the upcoming international friendlies against Oman and UAE arrived in Dubai on Sunday. Ahead of the fixtures, the Blue Tigers will undergo a preparatory camp in the Arab city, with Croat head coach Igor Stimac would be overseeing the progress of the players.
It was back in November 2019 that India played its last international match against Oman for the 2022 FIFA World Qualifiers, following which the Covid-19 pandemic scrapped all fixtures. Ahead of the remaining qualifiers, Igor Stimac’s men will be playing two matches against UAE and Oman, later this month.
The 27-member squad for the upcoming games has already reached Dubai for the preparatory camp ahead of the double clashes. However, talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri has not travelled with the contingent after he was tested positive for Covid-19 recently. The players had a meeting with the head coach after reaching Dubai, last Sunday.
"This season the league was a bit different. Everyone was in the bubble and with so many protocols. Hence, we had to stay a bit away from each other. So it was a nice experience to talk with all and share our experiences. It was fun," said India’s Adil Khan.
India is slated to lock-horns with Oman on March 25, while they face UAE on March 29, with both the matches to be played in Dubai. Midfielder Anirudh Thapa, who is an integral part of the squad, is thrilled with the aspect of getting back at the national camp.
"It is always great to be back at the national camp. All the players met each other with great fondness. During the league, we mostly waved at each other from a distance owing to the protocols. It's always great to be together under the same umbrella -- that is the national team," exclaimed Anirudh Thapa.