Ahead of Bangladesh clash in the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifier, Indian coach Igor Stimac is 'very happy' to have a friendly match against Northeast United FC.
"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," All India Football Federation (AIFF) quoted Stimac as saying.
"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 the best of their abilities," he added.
The Blue Tigers are currently attending a preparatory camp in Guwahati for the forthcoming match against Bangladesh. Both the teams will face each other at Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata on October 15.
The Indian team last played a goalless draw against AFC Asian Cup Champions Qatar in their road to qualify for World Cup 2022.
Northeast United FC coach Robert Jarni was a former teammate of Igor Stimac who was part of the Croatian team who went on to finish third in FIFA World Cup France 1998.
"It'll be a great pleasure for both of 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 meters 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 added.
The Croatian coach had summoned 29 players for the preparatory camp initially, but Jerry Lalrinzuala wasn't able to join the camp owing to some fitness issues.
The Blue Tigers will now face Northeast United FC in a friendly match on October 9.
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