THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Team India lands in Kathmandu for SAFF Championship

Indian national team

The 20-member Indian national team for the SAFF Championship 2013 landed at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on today. The squad reached Kathmandu from Bangalore via a connecting flight from Kolkata.

The Indian team was greeted by a temperature of 22°C with clouds hovering overhead. “It has been drizzling but we haven’t had any torrential downpour in Kathmandu in the past few days,” an Official who had come to receive the Indian contingent at the airport, informed.

Captain Sunil Chhetri felt the tournament is evenly balanced. “We are the defending champions but there isn’t any room for any complacency. We will be sticking to the strategies and taking one match at a time,” Chhetri told the horde of journalists at the airport.

Striker Jeje Lalpekhlua sounded a cautious note. “I have been a part of the triumphant squad twice in 2009 in Dhaka and 2011 in New Delhi. I want to make it three in a row but it’s not that easy. In fact, it’s very tricky. There are strong hurdles which we have to overcome. We will give out best,” he told AIFF Media.

Goalkeeper Sandip Nandy added: “It was an excellent feeling to win the SAFF Football in 2005 in Pakistan. I’m looking forward to the tournament. We head into this championship from Bangalore where we had a fruitful camp for 10 days. We need to implement on the field all of what we have practiced.”

There wasn’t any practice session slated for the team today and the first practice session will only be held on Wednesday.

Pakistan have been the first team to arrive in Kathmandu on August 25 followed by Bangladesh and Bhutan the next day.

India play their first match against Pakistan on September 1.

(Edited AIFF Media report)