The India U23 national team has safely landed at the Doha International Airport late on Thursday evening. Despite the three and a half hour flight from Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, the squad looked fresh and all geared up for the challenge.
Coach Desmond Bulpin feels the heat in Doha won’t prove much of a hindrance. “Back home in India, it’s hot and humid. So as far as temperatures are concerned, it won’t affect us,” Bulpin said.
“The boys have been a part of a six-day camp in Pune where we tried to fine-tune certain aspects. We are looking ahead to the challenge. It will be a tough match.”
Despite the imbalance in FIFA rankings, Captain Raju Eknath Gaikwad takes inspiration from the fact that India came close to upsetting Qatar’s applecart when the two teams last met at the Guangzhou Asian Games. “In the Asian Games, we were leading one-nil till the 80th minute but conceded two in the last ten minutes. We can’t afford to repeat the same mistakes,” he maintained.
The Indian team is scheduled to play Qatar in the 2012 London Olympics Qualifier at the Al Sadd Stadium on June 19.
The squad will assemble for practice on Friday evening.