XtraTime Web Desk: The Indian football team has been greeted by a pleasant temperature of just 15 degrees Celsius on their arrival in Shizhou, PR China for the forthcoming international friendly against the host nation.
The match is slated to be held at the Suzhou City Centre Olympic Stadium in Suzhou City on Saturday. This is the first visit of an Indian senior national team to China as well.
Even as the weather forecast stays bright and sunny, India hasn’t ever been able to manage a victory against China in their last 17 outings for far. The last time the two teams met was in the Nehru Cup in 1997.
Defender Pritam Kotal stays aware of the challenge and maintained that “defenders will have a big role to play.”
“Defenders will have a big role to play when we play China. We communicate with each other in the practice sessions and we have to be at the top of our games on Saturday,” he stated on arrival.
“We need to play more games against the stronger teams to tighten the screws before we land in the UAE for the Asian Cup. We are eagerly waiting to give our best in front of the Chinese crowd on the 13th,” he smiled.
Referring to him missing India’s last away international fixture against the Kyrgyz Republic, Kotal felt away fixtures are always “more demanding.”
“It was a sorry case for me to have missed the match against the Kyrgyz Republic. An away fixture is always more demanding and I am already feeling the heat to give my 100%,” he quipped.
Meanwhile, National Coach Stephen Constantine the match would be a “good indication” for the near future. “China are obviously a good side. They play some good football. Our performance against China will be a great indication of where we are and how far we need to go,” he stated.