The Indian men's football team will need at least one full training camp to be adequately prepared for their match against Qatar, according to defender Pritam Kotal.
While domestic football has resumed in a number of countries, international football remains frozen and India's 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Qatar, which was originally scheduled to take place on March 26, has been shifted to October 8.
"It is not a good situation and we can't really blame anybody," said Kotal in a live video chat on the official Instagram handle of the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
"It is very difficult to face a team like Qatar without any preparation or playing any friendlies. They are giants in Asian football so we need a camp for preparations. For the past many days we have had to do whatever we can at home and that is very different from practising with the team. I feel we will need a camp where we can prepare."
While India are out of contention to advance to the next stage of the World Cup qualifiers, they are looking to secure a place in the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. Free-scoring Qatar, who are the reigning Asian champions, were held to a stunning 0-0 draw at their home when they played against India in September 2019.
India are also scheduled to take on Bangladesh away on November 12 and host Afghanistan on November 17.
"Friendlies are out of our hands, considering the situation that is existing not just in India but in the world. So we need at least one good training camp before that Qatar match. And after that we also have matches against Afghanistan and Bangladesh too in which we have to do well. For now the only thing we can do as players is keep ourselves as fit as possible. So yes, we need at least one proper camp," said Kotal.