India National Team Head coach Igor Štimac stated that Blue Tigers are “looking forward to play in Kolkata” after a prolonged gap of eight years. The Indian National Team are scheduled to play Bangladesh in their second home game of the joint FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Qualifiers at the VYBK on October 15, 2019. The last time India played an international match in Kolkata was in 2011 against Malaysia.
“I can say how happy we are to go back to Kolkata. It’s the ‘Mecca of Indian football.’ I can see the excitement amongst the players about playing in Kolkata. I have been told that ticket sales are going at a great rate, and there might be 60-65 thousand people on 15th,” Štimac said at a media interaction in Guwahati today (October 5, 2019).
“We have started working yesterday (October 4). We’ll have eleven training sessions, and a friendly match against NorthEast United FC on Wednesday (October 9, 2019). We’re happy to be back here where we got fantastic support (against Oman). We wanted to come back here to appreciate the local fans,” Štimac maintained.
The Blue Tigers are currently undergoing a 10-day preparatory camp in Guwahati and they’re scheduled to reach Kolkata on October 13, 2019, two days prior to the match against Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh, who are currently ranked 187 in the recently-released FIFA rankings, went down against Afghanistan in their campaign opener and they’re scheduled to host Qatar in their next World Cup Qualifier on October 10, 2019.
“We respect Bangladesh as a team. We’re aware of the difficulties that we’re going to face, and we’re working on them. We need to attack for 90 minutes to break two defensive blocks of Bangladesh. They are a good side who try to cover, and close the midfield.”