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The men’s national football team’s friendly match on May 25 against Zambia has now been called off, the All India Football Association confirmed, as reported by ANI.
India was to play the exhibition match against Zambia in Doha as part of the Blue Tigers’ preparation for the final round of AFC Asian Cup qualifiers, which start on June 8 in Kolkata.
The reason for the match’s cancellation is that the Zambian players will be unavailable to play on the expected date.
“We regret to inform you that our efforts to secure our professional players for the friendly against India… has proved futile. Most of the players’ season-ending matches are close to the scheduled date, making it practically impossible to join the camp,” read a letter sent by the Zambian football association to the AIFF, ANI reported.
The Indian team meanwhile has been in camp since April 23, first in Bellary, and now in Kolkata, where they are scheduled to play a series of friendlies against a combined All-Star XI from the I-League, and another against the West Bengal Santosh Trophy squad.
The team already played a friendly against ATK Mohun Bagan on May 11. The Indian team lost that match 2-1, despite a goal from skipper Sunil Chhetri, who returned to the national team for the first time after seven months due to an injury-layoff.