Chhetri to sit out of India's match against Iraq

The Indians under English coach Bob Houghton are in the UAE for a preparatory camp for the 2011 Asian Cup with their base in Dubai. After tomorrow's match against Iraq, they will be playing against Kuwait in Abu Dhabi on November 14 and against UAE on November 18.

The ankle injury to Chhetri during practice at Dubai's Al Wasl club ground was a blow to the Indians as regular captain and star striker Bhaichung Bhutia is also yet to regain his full fitness.

Bhutia did not play in the three international friendly matches in Pune last month after suffering a minor injury against Namibia in New Delhi on September 15. He is also not expected to take the field at Al Shaab Stadium tomorrow.

Chhetri's injury though is not a major one as nothing serious was detected in the MRI scan taken at a Dubai local hospital.

"He needs rest for two-three days. He will be available for the match against Kuwait," a team source told PTI.

Chhetri scored a hat-trick in India's 3-1 win over Vietnam in Pune on October 8. Tomorrow's match could be the toughest match of the series of international friendlies planned in the run-up to the next year's January 7-29 Asian Cup, as Iraq are ranked 94th to India's 144th in FIFA charts.

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