New Delhi: Indian football team will play international friendlies against Maldives and Qatar before meeting UAE in their first World Cup qualifier, AIFF confirmed.
India are scheduled to play Maldives on July 10 and Qatar on July 17 in the away ties before taking on the 111-ranked UAE team in the first leg of the qualifiers on July 23. The return-leg will be played in India on July 28.
"The qualifying matches for the 2014 FIFA World Cup against UAE are a challenging proposition for the team. Hence, it is imperative that the national team prepares in the right manner with enough number of matches," said national team director Tathagata Mukherjee.
"The away games against Qatar and Maldives would be important to prepare for the first-leg against UAE. We are looking forward to the game against Qatar which will be played under similar climatic conditions as that of UAE," he added.
The team is also scheduled to undergo an acclimatisation camp in the Gulf prior to the first-leg game.
"AIFF understands it needs to be strategically planned. We will leave no stone unturned to create an upset," the director said.