Indian football team gets official clearance to play in Asian Games, women wait

Head coach Stephen Constantine had appealed to the government - during the Intercontinental Cup earlier this month - to let the team participate in the Asian Games.

Udanta Singh celebrates with India skipper Sunil Chhetri after he scored the first goal against Kenya in the Hero International Cup at MFA   -  PTI

The Indian men’s football team has been officially cleared to participate in the upcoming Asian Games in Jakarta, days after national coach Stephen Constantine appealed to the government to send a team for the mega sporting event.

“The official confirmation has come to the All India Football Federation. The men’s team is going for sure but the women’s team’s faith still hangs in balance as they are yet to get the green light,” a well-placed source close to the AIFF said.

"We need more games and if the government is listening, send us to the Asian games. It’s an U-23 event and we have 11 players in this squad who are below 23. The benefits the players will gain from the Asian Games will be huge,” Constantine, who is set to hold a preparatory camp for the Asian Games in July, had said.

In his second stint with the Indian team, Constantine oversaw  India’s triumphant campaign in the Intercontinental Cup, which culminated with a convincing 2-0 win over Kenya in the summit clash in Mumbai. The Intercontinental Cup was only a step in preparation for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in Dubai.

India is clubbed with host United Arab Emirates, Thailand and Bahrain in Group A of the continental showpiece, which will be held across eight centres from January 5 to February 1.

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