India to take on North Korea

Friendly game against World Cuppers to be played in New Delhi

The Indian team, which is now in Lisbon for their two-month training-cum-competition stint in Portugal in the build-up to next year’s Asian Cup in Doha, will play their first match at home against Thailand here on September 8.This is four days after they play Thailand in Bangkok in their first international friendly after the Portugal stint.

India will play against North Korea, who lost all their three group matches in the recent FIFA World Cup in South Africa, at Ambedkar Stadium on September 14.According to a top source in the AIFF, India will then take on either Namibia or Gambia on September 18 before playing against Turkmenistan twice on September 22 and 25.

India are currently placed 138th in the FIFA rankings while North Korea are at 100th spot. Gambia are ranked 103rd, Namibia 115th and Turkmenistan 133rd.AIFF General Secretary Alberto Colaco said that the agent arranging the international friendly against North Korea has intimated the federation that the country has confirmed the match on September 14.
“The agent arranging the friendly match has forwarded an e-mail he received from DPR Korea FA confirming the match. However, we are still waiting for direct confirmation from them,” Colaco said.

Head coach Bob Houghton has planned more international friendlies but Ambedkar Stadium, his favourite venue, will not be available for most part of October as it has been kept as reserve for the Commonwealth Games.

Pune, where the profile of football has gone up recently after becoming the base of Pune FC, could get the chance to host at least one of India’s international friendlies in October.

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