India are all set to play an international friendly against Oman on Thursday before the upcoming AFC Asian Cup UAE behind closed doors. Alluding to their unwillingness to reveal their tactics, India coach Stephen Constantine and his Omani counter Pim Verbeek agreed to play the match in the Baniyas Stadium without any telecast of the match.
The friendly is part of India's preparations for Asia’s biggest football tournament. Indian will play Thailand in their Group A leg on January 6 in Abu Dhabi.
Citing the importance of the results prior to Asia’s biggest football event, Constantine stressed that the Blue Tigers are “not expecting to play easy games.” He said his team needed to play in the best possible fashion, for Oman are the tough competitors.
Previously, Oman, the current ranked 82 as per the December FIFA Rankings, had defeated rank 97 India twice in the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 qualifiers.
Recalling the first leg defeat in Bengaluru, Constantine was positive that India, which have new young talents, are now a much improved team. He added it is “a huge advantage to settle in early,” with reference to India being the first team to land in Abu Dhabi for the tournament.