The All India Football Federation today confirmed that Indian team will play China in an international friendly in October, as part of preparation for the 2019 Asian Cup. This will be the first encounter between the two neighbours after a span of 21 years. They last played each other in the Nehru cup in Kochi in 1997.
India ranked 97th in the world will travel to Beijing to play against the 75th ranked China during the October 8-16, 2018 FIFA window. The match date may be October 13 but a final confirmation from AIFF is awaited.
This move may be a boost to India’s preparation in pursuit of next year’s AFC Asia Cup to be held in Dubai, UAE in January 2019.
“China and India are today being seen as the two fastest emerging football markets, globally. We are happy to have come to the conclusion of our month long discussion with the Chinese FA, and I thank our marketing partners FSDL for their involvement and cooperation, said AIFF general secretary Kushal Das.
“The opportunity presents us with an opportunity not just break the two-decade deadlock, but also provides us a chance to revive the neighbouring rivalry,” he added.
India are yet to win an encounter against the Asian rival. In the past 17 matches played between the two, 12 have won by China while five matches resulted in a draw.
However, considering the run of form of this current Indian team, highlighting the 12 match unbeaten streak from June 2016 to November 2017, sets up a high profile clash between two.
Expressing satisfaction about the tie, national coach Stephen Constantine said “With an eye on the preparation for the Asian Cup, as a coach I couldn’t have asked for anything better than an opponent like China. I am sure the boys will make the best of the opportunity presented to us and look forward to test ourselves ahead of the AFC competition