The Indian men’s soccer team was drawn into Group D of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup third qualifying round along with Hong Kong, Afghanistan and Cambodia at the official draw ceremony held at the Asian Football Confederation headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Thursday.
The stage, which starts on June 8th, will be played in June at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, with India meeting Cambodia on June 8th. India’s next two games will be on June 11 against Afghanistan and June 14 against Hong Kong.
The participating 24 teams were divided into 6 groups, with the six group winners and the top five runners-up teams receiving a ticket to the AFC Asian Cup China 2023.
– Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) February 24, 2022
The Blue Tigers had previously made it to the third and final round of AFC Asian Cup qualifiers after finishing third in Group E in the second round of joint qualifiers for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 had become.
“Draws can always be good or bad. But we have to do our job,” said head coach Igor Stimac immediately after the draw, according to an AIFF publication. “We plan to start our preparatory camp in Kolkata from the first week of May. However, Mumbai City FC players will not be available until May 29 due to their club commitments in the AFC Champions League.
In addition, ATK Mohun Bagan will most likely also be involved in the AFC Cup and its players will also be unavailable until May 25,” Stimac informed. “And there are almost 12 or more players from both clubs that are part of the National team.” “In a situation like this we have to look after other players, prepare them and wait for the others to come along. The situation is very similar to March before the friendlies,” he added.
The Blue Tigers play Bahrain and Belarus in two international friendlies on March 23 and March 26 respectively. Commenting on the teams in the group, the head coach urged everyone to “take it seriously to get the job done.
“Afghanistan have always been difficult opponents. They come with players who have experience in international leagues and Hong Kong will also be strengthened when their three players from Brazil, maybe one each from Great Britain, and New Zealand join a lot of others who are abroad play, but we have to justify our position as a Pot 1 team,” emphasized the head coach. “We’re playing at home and hopefully the players will be extra motivated with the fans cheering us on from the stands,” he added.