New Delhi, May 19
Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri has made a return to the national squad after recovering from Covid-19, leaving with a 28-member squad for Doha for the three upcoming matches of the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers.
The Indian team, fourth in Group E with three points, is already out of contention for a World Cup berth but it is still in the reckoning for the 2023 Asian Cup in China.
India would have a preparatory camp in a biosecure bubble in Doha before their first match against hosts Qatar, to be played on June 3.
After missing the two international friendly matches against Oman and the UAE in the last week of March, Chhetri is set to feature in the coming games. Prior to their departure, the players were serving quarantine in the national capital since May 15.
Not ideal situation
Head coach Igor Stimac said that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the situation and preparations are not “ideal”.
“It’s not an ideal situation as we move ahead to the qualifiers in June. Due to the pandemic, our national camp which was slated to begin in Kolkata at the beginning of May had to get cancelled,” Stimac said. “The pandemic also robbed us of a friendly match in Dubai.” — TNS, agencies
- June 3: vs Qatar
- June 7: vs Bangladesh
- June 15: vs Afghanistan