India are set to play an international friendly against Oman on December 27 in Abu Dhabi as part of their preparation for the forthcoming AFC Asian Cup.
Oman are ranked 84th in the world, in comparison to India on 97 as per the Fifa rankings of October.
Kushal Das, the General Secretary of the All India Football Federation, said it was important for the senior national team to play “stronger opposition” in their quest to prepare better for the Asian Cup.
“Oman are a very strong team. We were drawn against them in the Fifa 2018 World Cup Qualifiers and are aware of their quality and strength. It will be the perfect test for our boys as they gear up for the Asian Cup,” he said.
“I need to thank the Oman Football Federation for agreeing to play the match in Abu Dhabi,” he added.
National Coach Stephen Constantine said that Oman will be very similar to Bahrain and UAE, both of whom India will be facing in the group stage of AFC Asian Cup.
“Oman will be in some ways very similar to Bahrain and UAE which is why we wanted to play them so that we can get a good idea of what we are going to face in the group stages,” he said.
“It’s now a question of trying to establish a rhythm and making sure we all know what we have to do. In our last game against Jordan, the circumstances were exceptional and that was a good learning experience for all the players,” he added.
India last played Oman in 2015 as part of the Fifa 2018 World Cup Qualifiers, losing 1-2 in Bengaluru and 0-4 in Muscat. Constantine, however, said that the team is a “completely different” outfit now.
“After three years, we are a completely different team and I believe we are getting better. It should be a great game for us,” he mentioned.
India will play Thailand in their first match of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 at the Al Nahyan Stadium on January 6, 2018.