The Indian Football Federation on Wednesday said the national team could not train in the country right now, due to COVID-19 and was considering foreign options for a training camp ahead of Qatar’s World Cup qualifier next month.
India is no longer considering spending for the 2022 FIFA World Cup but is still fighting for a place in the 2023 Asian Cup in the combined qualifiers. The other three matches against Qatar (3 June), Bangladesh (7 June), and Afghanistan (15 June) are crucial to qualify for the Asian Cup.
The Asian Football Confederation was selected by Qatar in March as a central venue to host the remaining Group E matches due to coronavirus travel and quarantine restrictions.
“We cannot have a camp in India. So we have to look for different options,” AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das told PTI. This means the Indian Football Federation are in search of different training camp.
A national camp under the leadership of General Coach Igor Stimac was first planned in Kolkata from May 2 to 21. After that, the team was to leave the country for Dubai on 22 May, where a week-long camp was planned, as well as a friendly match, not an international match.
But in view of the second devastating wave of the COVID-19 epidemic in the country, all these schemes were canceled.
Asked if the team is already planned to be sent to Qatar, although the first match is still 20 days away, Das said: “Only if we get permission. We are waiting for information from QFA (Qatar Football Association). “
He said that if permission is granted, the AIFF will request a waiver for the team after arriving in Qatar. “We are looking for a quarantine waiver with the help of QFA,” he mentioned.
The Indian team is currently fourth in the group match with three points from five matches. From other matches, the team would be expected to score as many points and finish third, to seal automatic qualification for the third qualifying round of the 2023 Asian Cup.
In March, India played the first international match of November 2019 in friendly matches against Oman and The United Arab Emirates in Dubai. India beat Oman 1–1 on 25 March, but suffered a 0–6 defeat against UAE on 29 March.