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India national team to face I-League stars in a friendly as part of Asian Cup preparations

The India national team are likely to play an array of domestic stars from the I-League in Kolkata on May 17 as part of their preparations for the upcoming 2023 Asian Cup final round qualifiers.

The Blue Tigers are expected to play two another international friendlies, but Igor Stimac’s side will first play a friendly at home against stars from India’s second-tier league – which would be an exciting encounter for fans to watch.

“The plan as of now is to play three friendlies before the qualifiers, the first of which will be against players who have impressed in the I-League. This friendly will set the pace for two other friendlies which we are planning. Both should be international games,” an official from the All India Football Federation (AIFF) reportedly told the Times of India.

As per the report, Stimac and Indian Arrows head coach, S Venkatesh will draw up a list of probable players for the game, which would be a chance for them to impress considering that no player from the I-League has been called up for the national team – though the Croatian has reiterated that he is still open to selecting players, irrespective of the league they play in.

Other than the friendly against the I-League stars, the AIFF have confirmed that one international game will be against Jordan on May 29, while the other opponents are yet to be confirmed as they had approached both Kuwait and Thailand for a game, but failed to reach an agreement with either of them.

India have been drawn in Group D of the upcoming Asian Cup qualifiers along with Hong Kong, Cambodia and Afghanistan – with the squad currently at a preparatory camp at Bellary, post which they will move to Kolkata on May 9.

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