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Team India excited to play first international tournament in Gujarat

Indian national team defender Sandesh Jhingan during a training session. (Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)
Indian national team defender Sandesh Jhingan during a training session. Photo courtesy: AIFF Media

After winning the Hero Intercontinental Cup in Mumbai last year, defending champions India begin their campaign in the forthcoming Hero Intercontinental Cup against Tajikistan at the EKA Arena in Ahmedabad on July 7. Syria and South Korea are the two other teams in the competition. All teams would be playing each other once, with the top two teams making it to the final slated for July 17, 2019.

This is the first time Gujarat is hosting a Senior Men’s International competition, and tickets for all matches are up for sale at

As the Blue Tigers practiced hard at the Mumbai Football Arena, the National Team players couldn’t hide their excitement about playing in Ahmedabad.

Defender Sandesh Jhingan, who captained India in their last match against Thailand in the King’s Cup (India won 1-0), stated that he hoped the local fans will create a “special atmosphere”.

“Ahmedabad is a splendid choice to host the tournament. It’s a wise decision as it will help expand football across all parts of the country. I have trained in the city before recently for my club. I hope that people will come out in large numbers, support us, and create a special atmosphere.”

A few players in the team have already played in Ahmedabad for their respective club commitments. Anirudh Thapa, who played at the EKA Arena for Chennaiyin AFC in the AFC Cup 2019 added the “pan India effect” will help popularise football more.

“Earlier, the National Team has played in Mumbai, Goa, Kochi, Guwahati in recent times. This time the fans in Gujarat will have their chance to stand by the Blue Tigers. The tournament is sure to will generate interest among the local fans,” he added.

Defender Rahul Bheke remarked, “It’s remarkable that the Hero Intercontinental Cup will be held for the first time in Gujarat. It provides the opportunity for the fans to come and cheer for us. We are all extremely excited.”

Adil Khan, who made his comeback to the National Team in the King’s Cup Thailand, felt echoed the same sentiments. “The atmosphere created by the Thai fans at the King’s Cup was amazing. I am sure hope that our fans will also cheer for us at the stadium and push us forward,” he expressed.

(AIFF Media)