The proposed friendlies of the Indian U-17 football team against Mali, scheduled in Mumbai on April 6 and 9, have been deferred after the west African country was suspended by FIFA on Friday, said Kushal Das, general secretary of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), on Saturday.
The matches would have been the first under new under-17 national team coach Luis Norton de Matos.
“FIFA has sent a letter to all member associations to not have any sporting ties with Mali till their internal issue is resolved. We would probably hold the matches after the under-17 squad returns from Europe,” said Das.
Under new coach Norton de Matos, India would base themselves in Portugal for training for nearly two months from April, said Das. The squad is scheduled to leave on April 10 and efforts are being made to organise friendlies against under-17 teams of top European clubs and even some national under-17 teams, said Das. The boys are scheduled to return to India in June.
On Friday, FIFA suspended the Mali football association with immediate effect after the country’s sports minister had dissolved the association’s executive committee and appointed a provisional committee.