New Delhi: Indian football team's hopes of rising in FIFA rankings have been dashed with cancellation of two international friendlies against Philippines and Malaysia owing to rescheduling of the SAFF Cup.
India were scheduled to play Philippines on September 6 and Malaysia on September 10, both away matches falling on listed FIFA dates. Wins in those games would have helped the currently 147th-ranked side garner points and improve its ranking.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) confirmed the development.
The eight-nation SAFF Cup is slated to be held at Kathmandu from September 1 to 11 while the AFC Cup quarterfinals - which also features East Bengal - are scheduled for September 17 and 24.
"It is unfortunate but then we had no option," AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said.
Due to a cramped Asian calender we couldn't postpone the SAFF Cup. The option of moving the SAFF Cup was explored but a few teams from other countries are playing in the AFC Cup," he added.
Earlier, in November last year, an international friendly against Yemen was cancelled after the visiting team informed AIFF that they won't be able to make the trip due to ticketing problems.
It was learnt that the AIFF was now working on the possibility of playing a friendly against Tajikistan on August 14, in preparation for the SAFF Cup.