Rival Watch – India face tough but beatable Afghanistan

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Introduction

The Afghanistan national team is set to lock horns with India in the World Cup Qualifiers on the 15th of June. Both the nations have announced their squad for the Qualifiers. Afghanistan announced a 26-men squad. The two teams have collided nine times in the past. Albeit, looking at the number of international matches both the teams played in 2019, India has played eleven games whereas Afghanistan has played only five.

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Afghanistan Football Team

Performance of Afghanistan national football team in their last five games

The last five matches that Afghanistan played were against Qatar, Bangladesh, Oman, India, and Qatar, again, respectively. All of them were World Cup Qualifiers. In these five matches, Afghanistan won only one game (against Bangladesh) and drew one (against India) whilst they lost to the other three matches. India, on the other, hand drew three and lost two.

Comparing these two stats, it might be safe to say that both the countries have been keeping up with a performance more or less similar to each other. In this case, India’s only plausible advantage is that they drew against Oman, whereas Afghanistan lost against them. But this won’t be a factor that might play a role in the upcoming game’s result on the 15th of June because both the teams will be playing with different players of varying fitness and performance levels than before and on different weather conditions.

3 players to watch-out for from Afghanistan

Zelfagar Narzary, Farshad Noor and Zubayr Amiri

Hossein Zamani (Special Mention)

Zelfagar Narzary and Farshad Noor have been instrumental for Afghanistan in the last few matches, making sure they get on the scoresheet without fail.

Zelfagar Narzary scored against India in the last World Cup Qualifier game in 2019, and Farshad Noor scored the winner against Bangladesh in the previous World Cup Qualifier game in 2019.

Zubayr Amiri is a player with a lot of experience, and playing alongside the likes of Abassin Alikhil, Zubayr Amiri will prove to be very instrumental in the Afghani midfield. Zubayr Amiri has also scored once against India in the SAFF Championship Finals.

Hossein Zamani is an 18-year-old Ajax youth system product. Currently contracted with SC Telstar, Hossein Zamani is a victim of immense hype around him. Assuming the player will feature in the Qualifiers, he’ll surely be one to look out for.

Rival Watch - India face tough but beatable Afghanistan hossein zamani
Hossein Zamani

Head to heads against India

As explained before, Afghanistan has collided with India on nine occasions. India won six times, drew twice, and lost once.

• On 6th Mar, 1951 – Afghanistan lost 3:0 at the Asian Games.

• On 12th Jan, 2003 – Afghanistan lost 0:4 at the SAFF (South Asian Football Federation) Championship.

• On 30th Jul, 2008 – Afghanistan lost 1:0 at the AFC Challenge Cup.

• On 5th Dec, 2009 – Afghanistan lost 1:0 at the SAFF Championship.

• On 3rd Dec, 2011 – Afghanistan drew 1:1 at the SAFF Championship.

• On 11th Dec, 2011 – Afghanistan lost 4:0 at the SAFF Championship.

• On 11th Sep, 2013 – Afghanistan won 2:0 at the SAFF Championship.

• On 03rd Jan, 2016 – Afghanistan lost 2:1 at the SAFF Championship.

• On 14th Nov, 2019 – Afghanistan drew 1:1 at the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

In 2016, it was Zubayr Amiri was on the scoresheet for Afghanistan. Whereas for India, it was Jeje Lalpekhlua and Sunil Chhetri.

In 2019, Zelfagar Narzary was on the scoresheet for Afghanistan and Seiminlen Doungel for India.

Of the said players, only Sunil Chhetri will be featuring in the upcoming WCQ for India, whereas both Zubayr Amiri and Zelfagar Narzary will be featuring for Afghanistan.

Conclusion

It is pretty unpredictable as to whom the results will favour. Although, the case with India might be that they haven’t found consistency under coach Igor Stimac. The players have been changed, replaced, and rotated very frequently. Only time can tell if it might take a toll on India for the upcoming Qualifiers or if it’ll prove favourable to Afghanistan.


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Kaushal Subramaniam M R
An aspiring Singer/Songwriter/Musician/Writer. Doing Journalism and Mass Communication at SRM Chennai. Native place Manjeri, Malappuram, Kerala.

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