'I can say we are very happy to go back to Kolkata. It is the 'Mecca of Indian football.' I can see the excitement amongst the players about playing in Kolkata. I have been told that ticket sales are going at a great rate, and there might be 60-65 thousand people on (October) 15th,' said Igor Stimac ahead of India's World Cup 2022 qualifier against Bangladesh
Guwahati: As India gear up to face Bangladesh in the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Blue Tigers' coach Igor Stimac on Saturday (October 5) hailed Kolkata as the 'Mecca of Indian football' and said that the team is looking forward to playing the match in the city.
"I can say we are very happy to go back to Kolkata. It is the 'Mecca of Indian football.' I can see the excitement amongst the players about playing in Kolkata. I have been told that ticket sales are going at a great rate, and there might be 60-65 thousand people on (October) 15th," All India Football Federation (AIFF) quoted Stimac as saying. Stimac also gave insights on how the team is preparing ahead of the much-anticipated clash against Bangladesh in the tournament.
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"We have started working yesterday. We will have eleven training sessions, and a friendly match against Northeast United FC on Wednesday (October 9, 2019). We are happy to be back here where we got fantastic support (against Oman). We wanted to come back here to appreciate the local fans," Stimac said.
The Blue Tigers are currently undergoing a ten-day preparatory camp in Guwahati and the side is scheduled to reach Kolkata on October 13 two days prior to the match against Bangladesh.
On the other hand, Bangladesh lost against Afghanistan in their tournament opener and they are scheduled to host Qatar in their next World Cup Qualifier match on October 10.
"We respect Bangladesh as a team. We are aware of the difficulties that we are going to face, and we are working on them. We need to attack for 90 minutes to break two defensive blocks of Bangladesh. They are a good side who try to cover, and close the midfield," Stimac said.
India take on Bangladesh on October 15 at the Salt Lake Stadium.
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Last Updated Oct 6, 2019, 10:54 AM IST