Bhubaneswar: Playing against teams like Lebanon, Mongolia, and Vanuatu in the third edition of the Intercontinental Football Cup will be beneficial for the Indian men’s football team, says the team’s chief coach Igor Stimac here on Thursday.
“India are one of the most formidable teams in Asia and it’s beneficial for them only to test themselves against teams like Lebanon, Mongolia, and Vanuatu who also do share a reputation of being strong sides,” Stimac said, sharing his views on the upcoming Intercontinental Cup.
With the third edition of the Intercontinental Football Cup set to be played at Bhubaneswar from June 9-18, the Sunil Chhetri-led Indian team has arrived in Odisha to begin their preparations for the prestigious competition.
“Bhubaneswar has one of the best grounds and infrastructures in the country, hence playing here will surely help us in our preparations for our upcoming major tournaments,” said Stimac.
India, who are ranked 101 in the most recent FIFA Rankings, will be up against Lebanon, Mongolia, and Vanuatu during the FIFA International Window at the Kalinga Stadium here.
This will be the third edition of the Intercontinental Cup, with the previous two competitions held in Mumbai (2018) and Ahmedabad (2019).
The four-nation tournament will also serve as the preparatory event for the SAFF Championship 2023, which is set to commence on June 21 in Bengaluru.
Notably, Bhubaneswar is not only growing as the sports hub of the country swiftly but it is starting to make its way onto the country’s expanding map of international football sites especially after the city hosted the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022 at the Kalinga Stadium, which has emerged out as cutting-edge sports arena in the recent years and has successfully hosted numerous top-level sporting events.
Furthermore, Bhubaneswar has seen a huge rise in interest in football especially after Odisha FC were crowned Super Cup champions recently.