There is a heightened level of excitement among the football fans here in the Manipur capital as the senior men’s Indian football team arrived to play the friendly Tri-Nation International tournament.
This is a big opportunity for the fans to have a first-hand experience of seeing the Indian team, which makes its maiden outing in the football-crazy state, which is considered to be of the biggest nurseries of football in the country. This madness is reflected in the fact that the tickets in the venue – Khuman Lampak Stadium – are almost exhausted.
The tournament will have three matches in a league format where India will be meeting neighbouring Myanmar in the opener and later take on a strong Kyrgyzstan in the last match on March 28. The two visiting teams will be clashing in the interregnum on March 25. The trophy will go to the side that tops the final standings.
Indian head coach Igor Stimac put things into perspective by heaping tributes on Manipur for its contribution to Indian football. “I feel excited to be in Manipur, which is a very important state for the National team. This state has given so many important players to the country. Presently in our squad of 23, there are seven players who were born in this state,” Stimac said in the pre-tournament media briefing.
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