The Indian Men’s Senior National Team, scheduled to play back-to-back International Friendlies against Nepal on September 2 and 5, were greeted by cloudy skies as they landed safely at the Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu earlier today (August 30, 2021).
The 25-member Indian contingent flew out from New Delhi where they had assembled overnight after the completion of the preparatory camp in Kolkata which had kicked off on August 15.
However, players from ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC weren’t able to train at the camp owing to the respective club commitments in the AFC Cup. While players from Bengaluru FC joined the team directly in New Delhi, ATK Mohun Bagan players had assembled in the camp a couple of days earlier.
“The Kolkata camp helped us to get back into shape as much it helped us gain a lot of technical insights,” midfielder Pronay Halder stated. “It was kind of a perfect pre-season for all of us. The practice sessions were insightful, while the gym sessions helped us to tone down further while attaining strength at the same time. I enjoyed every bit of it,” Pronay added.
The last time the Indian senior team visited Nepal was in 2015, wherein their away match in the play-offs for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers ended goalless, thus enabling them to qualify for the qualifiers by virtue of their 2-0 victory in the first leg.
Anirudh Thapa felt the Blue Tigers need to begin the final phase of their qualifying process for the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 in style.
“We are all looking forward to qualifying for the Asian Cup in China. We are aware that the qualifiers are to kick off in 2022 and this leg of the International Friendlies against Nepal marks the beginning of our journey towards achieving our aim. The coach has mentioned his plans, and certain aspects wherein we need to work up,” he expressed.
“We are in no position to take Nepal lightly. The two matches will be quite intense, and set the tone for us.”
“What made the Kolkata camp special was that we got to play two practice matches, and that helped us to get some much-needed match practice,” Pronay mentioned. “The facilities were wonderful, and the walk to the ground from the hotel took us less than five minutes.”
The Blue Tigers will have their first practice session in Kathmandu tomorrow (August 31, 2021).
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