India which has qualified for the 17th edition of the AFC Asian Cup after a lengthy eight-year gap, landed in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. This is only the fourth time the side has qualified for the Continental Championship.

The Indian contingent was welcomed at the airport by Indian Embassy officers and fans.

India which has been drawn in Group A plays its first match against Thailand on January 6, before facing host UAE on January 10. Later it meets Bahrain on January 14. India will also be playing Oman in an international friendly as part of the preparation on December 27.

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“We received a warm welcome from the Indian Embassy and the fans on arrival. I need to thank them for their warmth,” head coach Stephen Constantine said.

“The mood of the camp is good and we look forward to acclimatize fast,” he added.

The 28-member squad proceeded directly to the team hotel after enjoying a light evening session.

“Everyone is excited about the prospect of playing against the best teams in Asia. It's been a long journey for us that started in March 2015,” Constantine reflected.

“It is fantastic for us to be here as we deserved to be here. But now it is time to show how good we are,” he signed off.