India’s upcoming friendly against Northeast United will be an opportunity for players to prove themselves and earn a place in the squad for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifier contest against Bangladesh, according to head coach Igor Stimac.
India plays Northeast United on Wednesday at the Indira Gandhi International Stadium in Guwahati. The contest against Bangladesh is scheduled for October 15, in Kolkata’s VYBK Stadium.
The team is currently in Guwahati for a training camp.
“We’re very happy to have got a chance to play against Northeast United FC. This game will serve us very well to prepare for the Bangladesh match. I feel it will be a competitive game. It’s a chance for my players to prove themselves and to earn a place in the team. It’ll be nice to try as many players as possible. I expect them to do best to their abilities,” Stimac was quoted as saying by AIFF .
The friendly will be a reunion of sorts for Stimac as his Northeast United counterpart, Robert Jarni, is his former Croatian team-mate. “It'll be a great pleasure for both us. He was a fantastic player and a great coach as well. I wish him all the best for a successful career with Northeast United FC,” Stimac said.
“Back home, we face each other every day as we stay only 200 metres away. I see him while going to the market, the bank every time. But, I have never faced him as the opponent coach, it'll be an interesting battle for us surely,” he remarked.
Stimac had summoned 29 players for the camp initially, but Jerry Lalrinzuala wasn’t able to join the camp due to fitness troubles.