Thu, 12 Dec 2019

Muscat [Oman], Nov 17 (ANI): As India gears up for their first win in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers, head coach Igor Stimac said that the players are physically fit for the upcoming game against Oman.

"We are physically very fit and the players are not getting bogged down on the pitch or suffering cramps. Conditionally, we're doing well too. The recovery has been taken care of as per the plan, and that's the reason players have adapted to different weather conditions naturally," All India Football Federation (AIFF) quoted Stimac as saying.

India played out a 1-1 draw against Afghanistan in their last qualifier match on November 14.

"We have reached Muscat today. We have had a night stay in Dubai and it helped the players get good rest," Stimac said.

"We will have a training session in Muscat today evening to fine-tune our preparation before taking on Oman. We know how tough the game will be. So we have to make sure all players stay fit and deliver maximum on November 19," he added.

In the first leg, Oman edged past the Blue Tigers when they faced off in Guwahati on September 5. In what was skipper Sunil Chhetri's 112th appearance for the country, he had given gave the Blue Tigers an early lead to register his 72nd goal for India.

But, Al Mandhar smacked a late brace in last 10 minutes of regulation time to swing the tie in Oman's favour in front of a 22,000-strong Indian support in Guwahati.

"Qatar and Oman are two favourites in our group. The difference between the other three (Afghanistan, Bangladesh and India) is very less. Against Afghanistan, my team performed in the second half," Stimac said.

"This is a team for the future and we are in the process of becoming a tough team to play against. We had created chances to win every match until now. We even created chances against Qatar in the last minutes. We're improving gradually and that's what makes me proud," he added.

India will face Oman at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat on November 19. (ANI)

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