Football

India waits for clearance from Qatar

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The Indian national team is waiting for a clearance from host Qatar before it could travel to play the remainder of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers.

Centralised venue

In a decision taken early in March, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) slotted all the remaining matches of Group E qualifiers at a centralised venue in Qatar owing to the pandemic.

India was looking to travel to the venue early and start its preparations, which seems unlikely now.

“We hope to get the clearance from the host (Qatar) in a couple of days. The process will start thereafter,” said an AIFF source.

With the second wave of the pandemic currently putting a siege on India, it is assumed that the permission is delayed because of the misgivings arising out of it.

India is scheduled to play its remaining three matches against Qatar (June 3), Bangladesh (June 7) and Afghanistan (June 15). The Indian team played its last group match in November 2019 (losing 1-0 against Oman). It was supposed to take on Qatar at Bhubaneswar in October 2020 but the pandemic forced a postponement of the fixtures.

India is currently placed fourth in Group E with three points from five games. Qatar leads the table with 13 points while Oman is a point behind it in the second spot.

Though virtually out of contention for a World Cup berth, India still has a chance to make it to the Asian Cup which will be held in China in 2023.


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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 8:47:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/india-waits-for-clearance-from-qatar/article34546096.ece

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