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India head to Dubai for friendlies against Oman, UAE


New Delhi: Sunil Chettri was the notable omission in head coach Igor Stimac's squad for India's international friendlies against Oman and UAE in Dubai later this month.

The talismanic Chettri has been forced to skip the tour after testing positive for COVID-19 and is currently self isolating.

Brandon Fernandes, Rahul Bheke, Sahal Abdul Samad and Asish Rai also miss out as they are currently recuperating from injuries.

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Stimac named a 27-strong squad for the friendlies, which will be India's first matches since November 2019.

India meet Oman on March 25 with UAE to follow four days later. The squad will leave for Dubai on Monday.

Stimac will use the friendlies to gauge his players ahead of the resumption of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.

India are fourth in Group E on three points from five matches, with three ties remaining - against Qatar (June 3), Bangladesh (June 7) and Afghanistan (June 15).

Oman are also in the same group, occupying second place - four points behind Qatar but with a match in hand.

Oman, who are also training in Dubai, are scheduled to face Qatar (June 7), Afghanistan (June 11) and Bangladesh (June 15).

Group E matches will be played in a centralised venue in Doha.

Source: All India Football Federation

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