The Indian National team was expected to play an International FIFA friendly match against the Zambia National team in Doha, Qatar on 25th May. But out of nowhere, the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) sent a letter to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) informing them about their decision to cancel the game.
Have a look at the points and reasons why the game got called off and what were the things that were mentioned in the letter which was sent to the (AIFF) All India Football Federation by the (FAZ) Football Association of Zambia. They are as follows;
- “The Football Association of Zambia has failed in its efforts to secure our professional players for the friendly against India that was scheduled for 25th May 2022 has proved futile. Most of the players have their season-ending matches close to the date when the friendly game with India was scheduled. For this reason, it will become practically impossible for the Zambian players to join the national team camp.“
The Football Association of Zambia has blamed the clashing of the dates of the friendly game against India and the regular season-ending date as the key reason for their trouble to assemble the players for the game. They feel it will ve difficult for the players to join and national team camp in time and even if they make it somehow it will be difficult for them to have proper preparations.
- “However, the Football Association of Zambia sends its best wishes to the Indian National team for its upcoming matches. Thank you for understanding our problem, we sincerely acknowledge your positive response and your support towards it. We appreciate the good relationship that we have built with your Association. We look forward to engaging with India in the friendly matches in the future.”
Despite being unable to play the game against the Blue Tigers the Football Association of Zambia has wished the Indian national team for the upcoming Asian Cup qualifiers in June. The Football Association of Zambia has also thanked the All India Football Federation for understanding their problem to secure players for the game.
The Football Association of Zambia even expressed their wish to play a friendly game with the Indian National Team in the future thanks to a good relationship and understanding with their Indian counterparts.
Road to 2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers
The Blue Tigers who have already played friendly games against the Bahrain and Belarus in March are expected to play two practice matches against the I-League and Santosh Trophy combined All-stars team on the 17th and 20th of May. After that, they are expected to fly to Qatar where they have planned to play a friendly match.
Indian National team will return to India after completing their friendly games in the Gulf country and land in Kolkata where they will have a short final preparation camp before beginning their 2023 AFC Asian Cup campaign on 8th June against Cambodia. They will face Afghanistan next on 11th June and in their final game, they will be up against Hong Kong.
Those three games will decide the fate of the Blue Tigers and if they will earn a ticket to China for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup or will they have to wait till the next edition in the 2027 AFC Asian Cup.
India has so far been part of four editions of the AFC Asian Cups to date. The first being appearance was in the 1964 AFC Asian Cup in Israel when the Blue Tigers performed brilliantly and went all the way till the final where they finished as the runner-up to then AFC member and now UEFA associate Israel. It has been without a doubt the best result for India in the prestigious continental competition.
The other three appearances were in the 1984 AFC Asian Cup in Singapore, the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar, and the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates which was the last edition. In all these three editions the Indian National team couldn’t make it beyond the group stages.
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