Team India arrive in Omani capital Muscat

The Indian national football team arrived in the Omani capital Muscat today for an international friendly against Oman to be played on February 23. The 30-member probables squad have been camping in Dubai as part of their preparation for the forthcoming 2012 AFC Challenge Cup in Nepal.

Meanwhile the hosts Oman have made some changes to the match kick-off timing and venue to prepare for their upcoming final 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Thailand. As the qualifier would be played at 1.30 pm at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on February 29, the India friendly would also be played at the same time and venue on February 23.

India Coach Savio Medeira, feels the friendly would help India gear up for the upcoming tournament in a major way. "The match against Oman forms an integral part of our preparation for the forthcoming AFC Challenge Cup. This apart, we have another international friendly lined up against Azerbaijan on February 27."

"Both the matches would help us gauge our progress," Savio added.

The Middle Eastern side Oman are presently ranked 95 in the FIFA World rankings while India are in the 154th spot. A tough match looks to be ahead for a new look India squad.

Since February 16 India has been going through various training sessions in Dubai, under the watchful eyes of coach Savio Medeira and physical trainer Pradip Dutta.

Medeira sounded pleased when asked about the practice facilities in Dubai. "The team went through rigorous exercises and stay in good shape. They have responded well," he informed. "We have a tough task ahead. This is a young bunch and many would be playing their first International Match. We need to stay focused."

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