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Football: Zambia pull out of friendly match with India

ZAMBIA WILL NOT be able to participate in the proposed international friendly match with India scheduled for later this month.

The match against the 87th ranked nation was being seen as a valuable preparatory game for the Blue Tigers ahead of June's Asian Cup qualifiers.

Earlier, the AIFF issued a press release announcing the match, 

"All India Football Federation confirms a friendly match for the Blue Tigers against Zambia in Doha on May 25. The match is part of India’s preparation for the forthcoming AFC Asian Cup China 2023™ Qualifiers Final Round scheduled to be held in Kolkata from June 8.

The match comes close on the heels of the March International Friendlies in March where India had played against Bahrain and Belarus in Bahrain.

The Blue Tigers have been camping since April 23, 2022 – first in Bellary, and currently in Kolkata where the National squad will also be playing two more friendly matches – one against a combined All-Star XI from the Hero I-League, and the other with the Bengal Santosh Trophy contingent. The Blue Tigers have already played ATK Mohun Bagan in another friendly match on May 11.

The AFC Asian Cup China 2023™ Qualifiers Final Round will be held across three match days on June 8, 11 and 14, 2022, with the group winners, and the best 5 second-placed teams earning a ticket to the Asian Cup in China which is slated to kick-off on June 16, 2023."

But within hours it was revealed that the Football Association of Zambia would not be able to assemble their squad and reach Doha on time for the match, which resulted in the cancellation of the game.

This likely means the national team will remain in Kolkata till next month where the Asian Cup qualifier matches are scheduled to take place next month.

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