India drawn with Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Macau in Asian Cup qualifiers
Abu Dhabi, Jan 23 (IANS) India were clubbed in Group A with Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Macau for the Asian Cup football qualifiers and will begin their campaign against Myanmar on March 28.
The draw for the Asian Cup qualifiers was held here on Monday, according to the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
Twenty-four teams were drawn in six groups of four teams each. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Asian Cup, to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2019.
India had last qualified for the tournament in 2011 when it was held in Doha, Qatar.
India’s coach Stephen Constantine attended the ceremony as an invitee.
“Though there are no easy games for us, the target is to win our home games and qualify for the 2019 Asian Cup,” he said.
“We are delighted to be in the draw. We believe that the qualifying campaign was a good lesson for us as it gave us the opportunity to introduce some new players who by now have that little bit of experience of playing international football. We need to work extremely hard to keep alive our hopes of qualifying.”
Veteran Indian international goalkeeper Subrata Paul, one of India’s better performers in the 2011 Asian Cup said it would be “huge” if India qualified for the main stage of the tournament.
“If we can make it to UAE, we will be playing our second Asian Cup in eight years,” Paul said.
India are currently ranked 129th in the global rankings.
March 28: vs Myanmar (Away).
June 13: vs Kyrgyzstan (Home).
September 5: vs Macau (Away).
October 10: vs Macau (Home).
November 14: vs Myanmar (Home).
March 27, 2018: vs Kyrgyzstan (Away).