After finishing their preparatory camp in the capital New Delhi India yesterday shifted their base for a day to Bangalore ahead of their flight today to the Maldives capital Male. It starts a journey which will take India not only to Male, but also to the Qatari capital Doha and then Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates before returning home to Delhi later this month.
On Sunday India face the Maldives in an international friendly, the first official match in-charge for interim coach Armando Colaco. Armando has taken a squad of 30 players along and he is satisfied with the preparations so far. "I'm happy with the progress so far. I have certain plans and hope to execute them on the field," he said. "The boys have adjusted well to the style and are raring to go."
Thereafter India fly to Doha where a match against Qatar will be played on July 17. The match is of utmost importance then the Qataris and the UAE play a similar brand of football, so Armando can test a few things in the match.
Then there is also talk about an additional friendly set to be organised while in Doha with central Asian sides Tajikistan and Kazakhstan having been mentioned as possible opponents.
After Doha India fly to Al Ain to face the United Arab Emirates in the first-leg of their 2014 FIFA World Cup - Asian Round 2 qualifier on July 23. For the two World Cup qualifiers Armando will have to name a 23 member squad with seven players set to be kept out of the squad. India return to Delhi after the UAE match to prepare for the return leg on July 28 in Delhi.
One thing which Armando still has to do is name a captain with his Dempo seniors Mahesh Gawli and Climax Lawrence the likely candidates. "For the two Friendly matches, we may have two different captains," Armando informed, adding, "However, for the World Cup qualifier, we will have the same captain for the two legs but I'm yet to decide on that."