Picture Credit: Twitter

Picture Credit: Twitter

The Indian men’s football team will be travelling to China to take part in the Asian Games 2023, with the competition commencing on September 19, Tuesday, before the multi-sporting continental spectacle officially begins. Before departing for Hangzhou on September 17, Sunday, the head coach Igor Stimac talked about how the short turnover for the Asiad could make him leave out Sunil Chhetri and Sandesh Jhingan from the first game against China two days later.

Notably, India is in Group A of the competition alongside the hosts China, Bangladesh, and Myanmar, with the top two teams qualifying for the round of 16, while four of the best third-place teams making the knockout stage of Asian Games 2023 too. After the Indian men’s football team plays against China on September 19, they will take on Bangladesh two days later, before finishing off their group-stage campaign against Myanmar on September 24.

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At a press meeting, Igor Stimac spoke about the plans of India against their first opponent China in the men’s football competition of the Asiad. He was quoted as saying, as per The Bridge, “I am not thinking about the China game, don't be surprised if Sandesh Jhingan and Sunil Chhetri are left out in the first game. I'm thinking of Bangladesh and Myanmar.”

“This Chinese team has been playing together for some time. They will play in a 4-4-2 formation and they have a tower of a striker, they will be a very very tough opposition. They have invested a lot in this team, we need to consider if we want to invest our full energy into this game or skip it,” he added.

The 56-year-old also discussed the lack of preparation for the Indian men’s football team for the Asian Games 2023 and said, “From a point of asking for a training camp it has come to a point where we need to be happy with just getting the players before kick-off. It's a disservice to the national team. The things I was asking for, I wasn't asking for myself.”