Hosts India will play two friendly matches with Mali in the first week of April in preparation for the Fifa under-17 World Cup. According to AIFF (All India Football Federation) general secretary Kushal Das, the games will be played on April 6 and 9 in Mumbai.
It will be the first big Test for the Indian side under Portuguese expert Luis Norton de Matos, who recently took over from Nicolai Adam whose contract was terminated by AIFF following complaints from players of ill-treatment at the hands of German expert.
The friendly matches will give the Portuguese expert more understanding of the team. After the Mumbai event, the national team which is currently training in Goa, will also travel to Europe for an exposure tour. According to AIFF general secretary, India will play matches with certain Portuguese age group teams.
With nearly 200 days to go for the mega event, Das said the preparation is on the right track. “The team will be competitive and we hope they go beyond the first round,” he said on the sidelines of the FIFA U-17 function in New Delhi on Thursday.