Suzhou, October 10: The Indian national team were greeted by a pleasant temperature of 15 degrees on their arrival in Shizhou for the forthcoming International Friendly against China.
The match is slated to be held at the Suzhou City Centre Olympic Stadium in Suzhou City on Saturday (October 13). This is the first visit of an Indian Senior National Team to China.
Even as the weather forecast stays bright and sunny, India haven't ever been able to manage a victory against China in their last 17 outings for far. The last time the two teams met was in the Nehru Cup in 1997.
Defender Pritam Kotal acknowledged the huge task ahead of them and said that "defenders will have a big role to play." "Defenders will have a big role to play when we play China. We communicate with each other in the practice sessions and we have to be at the top of our games on Saturday," he stated on arrival.
For the first time ever the Indian Senior National Team will be playing an International Friendly in China. Let's cheer loud as they face the Red Dragons on October 13. #CHNvIND #BackTheBlue #AsianDream #IndianFootball pic.twitter.com/iXMR2tqkKy— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) October 7, 2018
"We need to play more games against the stronger teams to tighten the screws before we land in the UAE for the Asian Cup. We are eagerly waiting to give our best in front of the Chinese crowd on 13th," he added.
Referring to him missing India's last away International fixture against Kyrgyz Republic, Kotal felt away fixtures are always "more demanding." "It was a sorry case for me to have missed the match against Kyrgyz Republic. An away fixture is always more demanding and I am already feeling the heat to give my 100%."
Meanwhile, national coach Stephen Constantine said the match would be a "good indication" for the near future. "China are obviously a good side. They play some good football. Our performance against China will be a great indication of where we are and how far we need to go," he quipped.
The 22-member squad is as follows:
GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Karanjit Singh.
DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Sarthak Golui, Sandesh Jhingan, Anas Edathodika, Salam Ranjan Singh, Subhasish Bose, Narayan Das.
MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Nikhil Poojary, Pronay Halder, Rowllin Borges, Anirudh Thapa, Vinit Rai, Halicharan Narzary, Ashique Kuruniyan.
FORWARDS: Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Sumeet Passi, Farukh Choudhary.
HEAD COACH: Stephen Constantine
International Friendly: India vs China:
Match kicks off 5:05pm IST on October 13th (Saturday)