New Delhi: The Indian national football team is set to take on a strong Oman side in an international friendly, sans striker Sunil Chhetri, at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex Stadium in Muscut on Thursday.
The match is a part of India`s preparation for the forthcoming AFC Challenge Cup, to be held in Kathmandu in March. India have another international friendly lined up against Azerbaizan on February 27 in Dubai.
National coach Savio Mediera isn`t willing to risk fielding a full-strength side.
Keeping in mind the future challenges he has decided to rest AIFF Player-of-the-Year Chhetri, Lalrindika Ralte and stopper Nirmal Chhetri.
"All of them have some niggles. We are here to prepare for the AFC Challenge Cup. I don`t want to risk them in an International Friendly against Oman. The more time they get, the more will they recover," Savio said.
In fact, Savio won`t stay away from experimenting a bit.
"We have plenty of young talented players who are eager to perform at the big stage. Our emphasis would be to find the right mix of players keeping our future endeavours in mind," he said.
For the record, Oman who are ranked 95 on the FIFA ladder, were the winners of the 2009 Gulf Cup of Nations.
"They are a superior side. They are much more technically equipped. We need to keep in mind they would be playing on their home ground and would have a home support," Savio added.
The Oman team, coached by former French international, Paul le Guen, have a galaxy of stars to choose from.
For Oman, the match serves as a preparation for their World Cup qualifier against Thailand.