The Indian national football team has assembled at the national capital ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022 joint qualifiers in Qatar. The 35-member team is currently in mandatory isolation and will fly out once the players’ COVID-19 negative reports arrive.
Speaking to Football Monk, a senior AIFF official said, “The boys have been in the capital for the last 2-3 days; all of them are in isolation. This isolation was kind of mandatory.”
The 35-member team, as well as the coaching staff, have undergone COVID tests today and the results are yet to come at the time of reporting. Depending on the test results, 28 of the 35 players will be flying out to Qatar. India will have a preparatory camp for 10 days ahead of the matches. Qatar government has waived off the mandatory quarantine period for the players in their country.
The AFC picked Qatar as the centralized venue as the host of the reminder of Group E matches back in March. The decision was taken in order to avoid international travels for the teams amidst the pandemic. Earlier the preparatory camp was planned to be held in Kolkata, but was scrapped due to rising cases in the country.
Indian football team sits fourth in the Group E and has virtually no chances left to grab a spot for the next round of World Cup Qualifiers. India should, however, look to collect as many points as possible to realistically finish third in the group, which hands them a spot in the 3rd round qualifiers to the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.
The Blue Tigers are scheduled to play Qatar, Bangladesh and Afghanistan in their remaining games of the group stage. The matches are scheduled for 3rd June (Qatar), 7th June (Bangladesh) and 15th June (Afghanistan).