The Indian football team, under Stephen Constantine, are all set for their first international fixture of 2017, when they face off against Cambodia on Wednesday. The match is a perfect warm-up fixture for the Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and the Sunil Chhetri-led India national football team ahead of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 qualifiers, starting March 28.
India take on Myanmar next Tuesday in their first fixture of the tournament, before clashing swords with Kyrgyzstan and Macau. The full fixtures here.
Stabaek FC goalkeeper Gurpreet has been handed the captain's armband by Constantine for the Cambodia match. And the lanky custodian has a tough assignment in hand -- to get an away win for India for the first time in a FIFA international friendly since June 2006.
Moreover, playing on the artificial turf in Phnom Penh, as against the grass surface which is preferred by Constantine, is yet another hurdle for the Indians.
"We will be playing on an artificial turf. We would have preferred to play on grass. But we need to adjust. It is a very important match for us ahead of the crucial match against Myanmar in the AFC Cup Qualifiers," opined the British coach.
The Cambodia football team, meanwhile, have an inferior head to head record against India. They enter the match at the back of a 7-2 thrashing at the hands of Saudia Arabia in January 2017. Only this month, Leonardo Vitorino of Brazil was appointed the head coach of the Cambodia national football side.
India-Cambodia: Head to head record
Total matches - 4
India won - 3
Cambodia won - 1
Date: March 22
Time: 5 pm IST
Venue: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
TV broadcast - None
Live streaming - Facebook.
Live updates - AIFF Twitter.