KATMANDU: Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac said ahead of the first “friendly” against Nepal on September 2 that the matches here will serve as preparation for the SAFF championship in the Maldives next month.
“We are happy to be here and happy to be together again. These two international friendlies (September 2 and 5) will help us prepare for the next SAFF Championship in the Maldives next month. I just know these games will be good and we need to learn from the field, ”Stimac said Wednesday.
The ground conditions here could be difficult for the players as it has been raining for the past week leaving the conditions underfoot on the training ground difficult.
“I hope we don’t have heavy rain during matches so that we can play some exciting football,” Stimac said.
“We looked at Nepal as an opponent and the kind of progress they have made in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers. They have shown that they can play good football and defend as a team. My colleague (rival coach) did a good job and there are a lot of young players in the squad, ”said Stimac.
Nepalese coach Abdullah Almutairi said he had worked hard to “change the mentality of his players”.
“I don’t want to make people happy, I want to make them proud. We have been training for two months and there are a lot of young people in the team. Our goal is to win the SAFF championship in Maldives, and eventually qualify for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup China, “he said. “We don’t care about the FIFA rankings. It won’t be easy for them (India), as it sure won’t be easy for us.”
Indian captain Sunil Chhetri said: “I admit I have a soft spot for Nepal. But it ends the moment I step on the field. My mother is from Nepal and regardless of culture and discipline. sports that were instilled, it’s because of my mom, “he said.
“Nepal has always made it very difficult for us on the football field, and we expect nothing less. Playing Nepal at home and away from Nepal are two different things, and let’s not forget that ‘is the home team here, “added Chhetri. .
The match kicks off on September 2 at 5:15 p.m. IST and will be streamed live on the official Indian soccer team Facebook page @TheIndianFootballTeam.