India Leave To Qatar To Prepare For 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
Sporting activities in India have once again come to an abrupt halt as India continues to deal with a growing rise in COVID-19 cases. The spike in COVID cases started towards the end of April 2021 and skyrocketed in May that saw as many as 300,000 people test positive per day and over 4,000 lose their lives to COVID on a daily basis.
AIFF Allows Players To Train In Qatar
The Indian football team were in a predicament as they were unable to train normally in India due to the COVID restrictions in most Indian states. They put in a request to the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) to get permission to travel ahead of time to Qatar and begin their training early.
The AIFF granted that request and now the Indian team will depart to Qatar on May 19 to begin their training camp for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers early. The Indian team will not be subjected to the usual 10 day hard quarantine in Qatar and will be allowed to begin their training immediately. The AIFF put in a request to get Qatar to waive the quarantine period and Qatar agreed.
This comes as a big relief to Indian football players and the AIFF as most of the players have already been stressed out by the COVID-19 situation in India and being quarantined for 10 days would give them more time to be worried about their families and their situation back home.
The players are expected to undergo a COVID-19 test before they leave New Delhi on May 19. The Indian team will enter into a bio-bubble in Qatar and will have to follow strict protocol throughout their time in Qatar.
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2022 FIFA World Cup Chances
If you haven’t been following the Indian team closely, you may not know that India have already been eliminated from qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. However, India does have a chance for making the cut to play the joint qualifiers for the 2023 Asian Cup. India will play three matches in Qatar.
The first game will take place on 03 June in Qatar, followed by a game on 07 June against Bangladesh and the third and final game against Afghanistan on 15 June. India are currently fourth in Group E, having played 5 matches and getting just 3 points. The Indian team will ideally like to win all three games but that is going to be a difficult feat as they have some tough teams to beat.
If they cannot win all their games, their next goal would be to get as many points as possible during these three games and see if they can move up the points table and finish in third place. If they end up in third place, it will result in automatic qualification for the third round of the 2023 Asian Cup.
The Indian football team have had very little competition in the last 18 months and this will definitely have an impact on their performance in the qualifiers. There have been massive gaps with India playing international games due to COVID. They played in November 2019 and had no competition in 2020 due to the pandemic. They played two games in March 2021 when they held Oman to a 1-1 draw and then played the UAE and suffered a humiliating 6-0 defeat.
Will the Indian team be able to win their three qualifying games? We will have to wait and see.
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