Indian Football: Intercontinental Cup & SAFF Championships Shape Road to AFC Asian Cup
The Indian football team is eagerly preparing for the upcoming Intercontinental Cup and SAFF Championships, which will serve as crucial tournaments in their journey towards the AFC Asian Cup 2023.
With a recent victory in the Tri-Nation International Football Tournament, the Blue Tigers are aiming to utilize these competitions to fine-tune their skills and readiness for the highly anticipated Asian Cup, scheduled for January 2024.
India’s draw in the AFC Asian Cup places them in a challenging Group B alongside Australia, Uzbekistan, and Syria. Being the lowest-ranked team in the group, the Blue Tigers face a tough task. However, former India defender Gouramangi Singh, in an exclusive interaction with ISL, expressed that participating in the Intercontinental Cup and the SAFF Championships will be advantageous for India’s head coach Igor Stimac to gain a better understanding of the team dynamics and assess the players before the continental event.
Singh emphasized the significance of these tournaments, stating that the limited number of FIFA window matches for the national team makes it crucial to make the most of hosting or participating in tournaments. The Indian team’s participation in the Intercontinental Cup, SAFF Championships, and potentially more friendlies leading up to the AFC Asian Cup will enable them to work on their combinations and overall team strategy.
Indian Football Gears Up to Face Diverse Opponents in Intercontinental Cup and SAFF Championships: A Crucial Test Before AFC Asian Cup
Ranked 101 in the FIFA rankings, India will face Lebanon, Vanuatu, and Mongolia in the Intercontinental Cup. Additionally, they are grouped with Kuwait, Nepal, and Pakistan in Group A of the SAFF Championships.
While India emerged as champions in the previous edition of the SAFF Championships, the inclusion of teams like Kuwait and Lebanon from outside the SAFF region adds an extra challenge.
Singh believes that playing against diverse opponents will provide India with an opportunity to assess themselves and gauge their progress ahead of the AFC Asian Cup.
Facing quality teams in the Intercontinental Cup and the SAFF Championships will give the Blue Tigers a realistic understanding of their growth and current standing. Competing against formidable opponents, potentially even teams stronger than themselves will provide valuable insights and a chance to reflect on their journey.
Following the conclusion of these two tournaments, the Indian team will continue their footballing commitments with the King’s Cup in Thailand and the Merdeka Cup in Malaysia. It is scheduled for September and October, respectively.
As India gears up for these crucial competitions, the team is on making the most of the opportunities to enhance their performance and prepare themselves for the ultimate challenge in the AFC Asian Cup.