Fiji eyes India match

THE Fiji Football Association is working hard to secure an international friendly match against India in the next year’s Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) international friendly window.

This was revealed by the Fiji FA chief executive officer Mohammed Yusuf.

“We are working very hard with the All India Football Federation and there was a possibility to secure an international friendly match,” Yusuf said.

“We are looking to get India to play here in March or April next year, however, nothing has been confirmed at this stage.

“India has been playing a number of international matches only during the FIFA international matches window because their players are getting exposed playing for the third and fourth division.”

India was in the top 100 football teams being placed in the 96th position in the latest FIFA ranking. India’s goalkeeper and the captain Gurpreet Singh Sandhu had been playing for Stabaek football team in Norway. He was the first ever player from India to play in the top division European club and the fifth to play professional football in Europe. The side has also got Sunil Chhetri who scored 54 goals in 94 appearances for the Blue Tigers as they are commonly known.

“India has been going across the border to play countries like Nepal and Bhutan and that is how they have improved their ranking and this is what we are now doing,” he said.

“The cost of an international friendly for Fiji would be 80 per cent than what it would cost the Indian team. We are negotiating and once it is confirmed we will make the announcement.”

Fiji last played India in 2005 in a series where Esala Mast scored the lone goal in the first match and then Fiji again defeated Indians 2-1 in the second encounter with goals from Masi and Luke Vidovi.

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