Indian football team train ahead of today's international friendly against Cambodia yesterday
Phnom Penh (Cambodia): Preparing for the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers, the Indian football team will get a chance to assess its strengths and weaknesses in a match situation when it plays Cambodia in an international friendly here today.
This is India's first friendly since the 4-1 rout of Puerto Rico on home soil in September, 2016. Both the teams will approach the game with seriousness, as it's their last competitive outing before kicking off their respective qualifying campaigns for the AFC Asian Cup in 2019. India are slated to begin their campaign against Myanmar in Yangon. For the record, the last time India emerged victorious in an away international friendly was way back in 2006 against Pakistan.
It will be an opportunity for coach Stephen Constantine to provide a platform to the youngsters such as Jerry Larlinzuala, Milan Singh, Nishu Kumar and Daniel Lalhlimpuia to make a mark in the international arena. With Arnab Mondal and Sandesh Jhingan's season dogged by injuries and poor form, it could be an opportunity for Anas Edathodika to finally make his international debut.
Constantine was not amused to see an artificial turf at the National Stadium.
"We will be playing on an artificial turf. We would have preferred to play on grass. But we need to adjust. It is a very important match for us ahead of the crucial match against Myanmar in the AFC Cup Qualifiers. I thank AIFF for arranging the same," the Briton said.
India will be bolstered by the return of striker Robin Singh after a long injury layoff and. India's last meeting with Cambodia, at the 2007 Nehru Cup in New Delhi, ended in one of their biggest-ever wins in international football — a 0-6 demolition of the southeast Asian nation.