To ensure that the Indian national football team has the best possible chance to begin their Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) Asian Cup 2019 campaign on the right note, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has confirmed that India will play a friendly against Cambodia on 22nd March 2017 in the southeast Asian nation's capital, Phnom Penh.
Mr. Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF said, "We are delighted to confirm an International Friendly against Cambodia. The match will help the team prepare better for the crucial first match against Myanmar."
India were drawn into a favourable group for the final qualification round for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup along with Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Macau. The Blue Tigers kick off their campaign with an away game against Myanmar on 28th March and a friendly against Cambodia six days earlier is expected to get the players in shape.
Incidentally, Cambodia are ranked 172nd in the world while Myanmar are 159th.
National team coach Stephen Constantine expressed his delight at securing a friendly ahead of the campaign opener. "I appreciate the efforts of the AIFF in helping me secure the match," he stated.
"The International Friendly will help the players understand each other better ahead of our tough challenge against Myanmar. The idea is to play against a team close to Myanmar with regards to climatic conditions," the English-Cyriot coach added.
The 54-year-old coach also confirmed that India will train in Cambodia after the friendly before travelling directly to Yangon so that the players are accustomed to the weather and climatic conditions in the region.